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Fourth annual report, St. Croix Co. Agricultural Extension Service: Nov. 1, 1940--Oct. 31, 1941

Erosion and soil fertility,   pp. 6-8 PDF (1.3 MB)

Page 7

 based on soil analysis of the various fields involved. We think
 it is good business to test the soil for available phosphorous,
 potash, and calcium before making a definite recommendation on the
 kind and amount of fertilizer to use. Our soil testing project
 has been carried on throughout the year in cooperation with the
 works Project Administration.   The IiEA has furnished us with the
 services of a soil tester through a large part of the year. Through
 our soil testing project we have tested all the samples brought in
 by individual farmers and the samples brought in by the technicians
 working in the soil conservation district.
                     Erosion Control Assistant
      Because our Agricultural Committee felt that there was a need
 for more emphasis and work on soil improvement and erosion control
 they asked the State Soil Conservation Committee and the State Ex-
 tensioa Office to furnish us an erosion control assistant who would
 devote full time to erosion control and related problems. These
 two agencies collaborated with the committee, and as a result on
 October 1 they made available the services of N. 0. Stephenson.
 During the first month of Mr. Stephenson's work in the county he
 contacted forty-three farmers on their farms and discussed with
 them their immediate erosion problems. He assisted them in constr-
 ucting four diversion dykes, one tile bleeder, and got one drop
 inlet under construction. While all of these structures involved
 an expenditure of less than $50 on the farmer, they have definitely
 contributed much to the farms and farmers involved. Three farm
 buildings were in danger of being washed away, and these new stru-
 ctures were used to keep the buildings where they were.
     The type of service rendered by Mr. Stephenson is somewhat
different than that which is available through the soil conservat-
ion district, in that much of the preliminary planning work can be
eliminated, and no binding contribution is expected of the farmer.
The services of the erosion control assistant and the services of
the technicians working in the soil conservation district ara both
working towards the same end---that of conserving soil and keeping
silt on the hilltops.  W1hile Mr. Stephenson is working to solve the
immediate problems of erosion control on a particular ferms, ho is
also interested in getting a complete farm program set up for the
entire farm, which is available through the soil conservation dist-
     While it is true that our cropping system has removed a large
part of our fertility frorm tho soil, there still is a big chance
for improvement in the manner in which barnyard manure is handled
so that all possible fertility can be returned to the soil. On
some farms not over 25% of the original fertility of the barnyard
manure is actually put back into the soil. There is no cash out-
lay involved in conserving barnyard manure. It is a matter of pro-
paring, handling, and wise judgmant in whore and when to apply it.
The past few years we have found that because of dry seasons very
little organic matter is being plowed under. As a result our soils
are low in organic matter and readily subject to erosion. Because
of a lack of humus our soils are not in a condition to absorb and
hold the natural rainfall, and as n result much of it runs off with-
out doing the soil much good, and also takes much valuable top soil
with it.

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