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David Sparks Ph.d Restoring topsoil
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Idaho Ag Today
Date: August 30, 2017

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A study from the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources has found that switchgrass, which is a perennial plant and used commonly for biofuel, improves soil quality and can be grown on farms that have lost fertile topsoil. Dr. Stephen Anderson, the William A. Albrecht Distinguished Professor of Soil Science at MU and Syaharudin Zaibon, a doctoral candidate at MU, examined farming plots with varying levels of topsoil, which were established in 2009. “Each plot had varying amounts of topsoil ranging from extra topsoil to no topsoil. Corn, soybeans and switchgrass were grown on each plot, and after five years, the researchers examined the soil density and water permeability of each plot. They found that the switchgrass had improved the soil quality of the plots with little or no topsoil on which it grew.”

Claypan layers have lower water permeability, making it more difficult for plants to receive water and for farmers to obtain good economic returns from grain crops

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