Letter to Iowa Farmer Today about residue management

Dear Editor,

The Feb. 12 article about the dichotomy of high residue making corn farming difficult raises some serious issues.

Over many centuries our soil was created by seasonal cycles and the relationships of living things. As the soil was insulated by increasing levels of organic matter the OM component’s percentage grew faster. We arrived at this point where growing corn is a cinch.

It is the insulating residue that enables us. Look at where a fence post rots to see where the residue decomposes. Bury the residue and you preserve it in the seed zone where it interferes with seed to soil contact.

Residue left on the surface protects the lives of millions of bacteria, fungi, insects, nematodes, earthworms and other animals that make the soil porous and help break down that bottom layer into nutrients for the crop. “All Natural” is more than a gimmick written on cereal boxes, it is a history lesson. Our soil was not created by tillage.

Corn stalks left standing shield seedlings from the wind and are so brittle by harvest time they are hardly noticed in the combine and may even provide a little cushion, preserving grain quality.

If the tough stalks we prize become a problem for next year’s crop it is because we have inferior equipment that limits our ability to harness the help God gave us in the soil. Ditch or modify that equipment and the closed minded ideas, and profits will follow. Do it for the children.

Fritz Groszkruger

1820 Warbler Ave.

Dumont, IA 50625

641-425-4929

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