Day 2 of the soil course. Off to Keiths farm today (in Neals son in laws gigantic truck complete with a spitoon in the drinks holder - not something I've come across before and didn't really understand until I saw one of the other farmers take out a tin and scoop some black stuff out and then chewed on it...tobacco - never seen that before either) were he raises corn, soybeans, rice and cotton. Keiths been raising continuous corn for 4 years in places. They have a problem with the stalks no longer breaking down in the soil year to year with the BT corn - they think there must be a negative reaction to the BT gene from the natural soil flora. Keith is trialling the use of teas and nitrogen to help break the stalks down - a possibility for us on chopped straw to help it break down before incorporation as a sort of semi compost???? (Apparently the best way to deal with the debris is burning).
...back in the classroom, the aircon is on flat out freezing those of us with the misfortune of sitting over the vents but keeping us all alert! Todays topics are Ca:Mg percentages, the true meaning of pH padded out with many many annecdotes from Neal vast experience. Everything they talk about with nutrient levels here is the converse to most of our soils but the theory is still relevant. Ref: the tea - they think I'm the funny one for putting milk in the tepid tea - they put ice in it!
Just need to work out how to get around the 'lab' problem - Neals lab is apparently the only one in the world using the Albrecht techniques necessary to use the information properly - a synic may find this convenient? Where there's a will...
Tonight was a visit to a rib restaurant and a presentation on EC mapping and variable rate spreading -I was surprised to find the technology only just being adopted here.