Soil depth

Peninsula Pride Farms offers its members the opportunity to evaluate the depth of soil over bedrock.  The goal is to provide farmers in this region with high quality depth to bedrock information so that they can conduct manure applications that reduce the risk of pathogen movement to groundwater.  This is not trying to prohibit manure applications based on regulations.  It’s trying to help farmers understand where shallow depth of soil occurs on their fields and to have greater knowledge of the amount of soil over bedrock so that fields can be ranked on their potential for pathogen movement to groundwater.

A crop consultant test the depth of bedrock using a probe and GPS and develop a map for the farmer.  Farmers and the crop consultants work together to identify fields where the farmers have concerns that the soil depth could be less than three feet.  While probing by hand takes time and is a lot of work, it is probably the only method that can identify minor differences in soil depth (24” verses 26”). Overtime as the depth of soil over bedrock maps are improved, other methods to accurately determine soil depths between 3 and 5 feet should be explored.  The information collected should help in the development of a sound depth of bedrock mapping program for fields with soil depths of three feet or less.  Evaluation of the accuracy of soil type maps for predicting the depth of bedrock will be valuable to farmers and agency personnel.  Farmers will have a better understanding of the amount of cropland affected by the new rules and will be better prepared to seek assistance from agency personnel.

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