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In Oklahoma, Continued Tilling Could Bring Trouble

Logan Layden
StateImpact Oklahoma

Tilling and planting on the same land in Oklahoma for generations has left the soil in poor shape. And StateImpact Oklahoma warns that if farmers don’t change the way they grow crops, there will be trouble. After losing more than 800 million tons of topsoil in a single year during the Dust Bowl, farmers planted trees. They irrigated crops and changed plowing techniques to prevent another disaster. But they continued to plow, tilling the soil and planting wheat again in the same spot.

Ray Archuleta, an agronomist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service, has called tilling “a national crisis.” Tilling destroys root and worm pathways that allow moisture to penetrate the ground. It destroys bacteria that plants love, and over time, it causes the soil to die.

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