Getting the most from organic matter

Managing organic matter with tillage is an art. As conditions and factors change, you have to change how you practice this art


If you really understand organic matter and how it affects soil and yields, you will grow better crops. This article is written from the experiences I have gained by watching producers and imagining what is occurring in the soil.

An acre of average soil has about 1,000 tons in the top six inches. This “acre slice” weighs more for heavy soils and less for lighter soils. A heavy clay loam can have four per cent organic matter, which is 80,000 pounds per acre. A high-yielding silt loam may only have 3.25 per cent organic matter. It may only have 68 to 70 tons per acre of organic matter.

Better Farming - October 2012