As many of you may know cover cropping is a major part of soil health. It builds organic matter and creates food for the microbes, earthworms, and other living organisms in the soil.
Season 2018 sure took a tole on both farmers and the farmland on which they grow on. We shared how difficult last season was with you but never really talked much about the late season monsoons and what it did to the farmland here in the Pioneer Valley.
The picture below might be hard to see, but I was driving the other day and saw a brown wind storm in the distance and wanted to stop and grab a quick photo to illustrate.
Due to the excessive rain and the over saturated fields late in the season many farmers had to abandon the use of cover cropping because it was just too wet to get into the fields without creating more damage. Fields were either left bare, or if lucky, the remnants of the crop remained.
Soil is most happy when it has something living on it. It keeps the soil fed and healthy throughout the winter months, but it was too difficult to seed down fields or even germinate seed before it just rotted away from too much moisture.
This led to bare fields over the winter months. When we didn't have any snow cover, on windy days you could see top soil blowing away because there was nothing to hold it in place. Or the opposite, where there was too much snow melt or excessive rain made erosion a big issue. It basically washed away the top soil.
Farms have to start getting creative in years such as these. It's a tough battle. In some cases there's not much that can be done. We have to take care of our land just as much as we take care of ourselves. If the soil we grow our food on isn't healthy it will not perform well. Farmers constantly have to find the balance between profit and environmental sustainability.
The take home message here is that we are at the mercy of mother nature, but we have to try our hardest to make sure we are implementing the best agricultural practices as we can.
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