Soil workshop centers on biology

Soil workshop demonstrators Nancy Jensen (Butler County Youth and Outreach Coordinator), NCRS soil scientist Rick Bednarek’s wife and Darwin Freese of Allison spray silly string on foam balls, representing microalgae fungi and sand. The fungi get the nutrients to the plant. Iowa NRCS soil scientist Rick Bednarek then threw the silly string and foam balls to show that tilling will break up the fragile fungi built up in the soil over time. (Pat Racette Photo)

Rick Bednarek, Iowa National Resources Conservation Service soil scientist, came from Des Moines to share the agency’s recommendations for healthy soil last Wednesday.

Area farmers and other NRCS members listened at Allison Public Library as Bednarek emphasized microbiology, with organic matter tying physical, chemical and biological properties together.

“We’re learning more and more about that [organic matter] that we didn’t know before, which is soil biology,” Bednarek said. “Talking about no till and increasing infiltration and aggregate stability where plots hold together when saturated; we always promoted that. But it all centered on biology. Biology is the most important thing."

Read full story in the Feb. 20 Tribune-Journal and Clarksville Star.