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Field Day to Show How Smoke Can be Used to Measure Soil Health

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A wicked wet spring and challenging summer have left many farmers looking for answers and possible alternatives. A consortium of soil health professionals are working together to help support farmers through this difficult time. The Grant County Soil and Water Conservation District, Wabash County Soil and Water Conservation District, Wabash River Defenders and the Conservation Cropping Systems Initiative (CCSI) will be hosting a Soil Health Field Day on Tuesday, September 10, 2019. 

Frank Gibbs, a retired NRCS soil scientist from Ohio, will be showcasing a tile demonstration. Gibbs will use smoke and pressurizing tile lines to force the smoke through the soil surface. Attendees will see how smoke can be used as an indicator of water movement through the soil to show the efficiency of the underlying tile. The more smoke that comes to the surface demonstrates a healthier soil. Soils sealed due to compaction will not show smoke rise through the soil surface. 

Farmers will also experience a rainfall infiltration demonstration. The demonstration illustrates detachment (soil particles breaking off), transport (erosion/runoff), and deposition (soil being deposited). The field day will conclude with a guided walk through a field that has been seeded with cover crops. “Cover crops improve soil health by adding diversity to a farm system by keeping living roots in the soil year-round,” CCSI Director Lisa Holscher said. 

The Soil Health Field Day will take place Tuesday, September 10, at the Wabash County Farm, located at 1323 Manchester Ave., Wabash, Indiana. Registration begins at 9:00a.m. The field day will conclude at 11:30 a.m. For more information and to register for this event, please contact Tashina at Wabash SWCD by phone (260)563-7486 x3 or email tashina.lahrmanifold@in.nacdnet.net or Belinda at Grant SWCD by phone (765)668-8983 x3 or email grantcountyinswcd@gmail.com.