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Title:Soil Health and the Tillage Radish
Author(s):Holmes, Ashley
Subject(s):Crop Sciences
Abstract:Civilization as we know it owes its existence to the soil beneath our feet. Soil is a masterpiece of complex chemistry, biology, and physics that makes up only a small fraction of the Earths crust. Agriculture is dependent on this small fraction. How can we take better care of this invaluable resource? As an agricultural researcher, it is my job to add to the body of knowledge that teaches us how to best manage and improve our soil. I do this by working with cover crops. Photographed is Raphanus sativus, a unique radish variety with an enormous, fast-growing taproot. Known as tillage radish and sometimes called a biodrill, this crop improves soils physical properties. Its taproot penetrates through hard, compacted layers to loosen the soil and aid in water infiltration. Tillage radish is one of many cover crop species available to growers to help improve and maintain the functionality of their soil. My research will help growers understand how their species choices can positively influence the health of their soils for continued productivity. After all, in the words of Andrew Scott Draper, "The wealth of Illinois is in her soil, and her strength lies in its intelligent development."
Issue Date:2016-04
Rights Information:Copyright 2016 Ashley Holmes
Date Available in IDEALS:2016-04-14

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