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Published October 17, 2011, 12:00 AM

Soil


No-till organic field trial cooperators of Justin Olson of Tappen, N.D., and Anne Ongstad of Robinson, N.D., listen to Susan Liebig of the Natural Resources and Conservation Service explain the "food web analysis" of the soils during an Oct. 6 field day. (Mikkel Pates / Agweek)

  • No-till organic field trial cooperators of Justin Olson of Tappen, N.D., and Anne Ongstad of Robinson, N.D., listen to Susan Liebig of the Natural Resources and Conservation Service explain the "food web analysis" of the soils during an Oct. 6 field day. (Mikkel Pates / Agweek)
  • The Kidder County Soil and Water Conservation District acquired this “aggressive” roller for use by the county’s 60 or so organic grain producers. The roller crimps weeds and other cover crops at critical stages to discourage their growth and allow subsequent organic crops to succeed in a system where synthetic pesticides are not allowed. (Mikkel Pates / Agweek)
  • Anne Ongstad of Robinson, N.D., holds her “smartphone” and some field peas and a vetch she’s picked in a study of no-till organic production during a Kidder County Soil Conservation District field day. (Mikkel Pates / Agweek)
  • A "food web analysis," accumulated for each field, offers a snapshot of such things as the ratio between soil-borne bacteria and fungi. Cost is expensive, at $140 to $160 per field per year. (Mikkel Pates / Agweek)
  • Josh Schmaltz, technician for the Kidder County Soil Conservation Service in Steele, N.D., listens to a question about a no-till organic study the district is involved with. Behind him, on the tour is Linda Rudolph of Steele, who is a conservation district supervisor, a farmer and an ag lender. (Mikkel Pates / Agweek)
  • Joshua Schmaltz, technician for the Kidder County Soil Conservation Service in Steele, N.D., pulls a new, “aggressive” roller used on a no-till organic field plot east of Robinson, N.D., on Anne Ongstad’s farm east of Robinson, N.D. The roller is designed to crimp weeds and shut them down during critical growth stages. (Mikkel Pates / Agweek)
  • Susan Liebig, a soils quality specialist in the Natural Resources Conservation Service state office in Bismarck, N.D., was a speaker at a Kidder County, N.D., plot tour field day on Oct. 6. Here, she comments on the health of plants following no-till organic farming demonstration. (Mikkel Pates / Agweek)