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Reader Shares ‘General Information’

June 5, 2014
Emmetsburg News

To the Editor:

I think I've pointed out that organic material incorporated more than six inches deep in the soil turn into gas. Material in the top five inches is turned into compost. Them little creatures don't stop there. They then turn the compost into humus.

What good is humus? One hundred pounds of soil containing 5-percent humus will hold 195 pounds of water. One hundred pounds of soil containing 1.5% humus will hold 35 pounds of water. Today a lot of our soils contain only 1.5 to 2-percent humus.

I have an acquaintance, that lives about 400 miles north of here, that farms organically. He started farming that way in the early 1980s. In one of our last conversations he stated, "I'm sure I have more than 5-percent humus in my soil, but I can get into my fields before my neighbors, and don't know why."

At 2.5-percent humus serious erosion begins, and soil at that level of humus can only absorb a 2-inch rain.

The farmer in North Dakota has stated, "If we get a 1-inch rain I figure 20,000 gallons of water is going straight down into the subsoil."?He has never used a ripper.

Permission to use and present information in a Letter to Editor by Acers U.S.A.

(signed)?Marvin R. Duhn

Emmetsburg, IA



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