Benefits of Subsoil Plowing

The most common type of plow, the moldboard plow, was invented by Northern Europeans. That region of the world gets 50+ inches of rainfall, which can wash nutrient too deeply into the soil to be aerobically decomposed or bioavailable. Further, these soils tended to remain oversaturated with water. Before the days of big machinery and high tech drainage systems, inverting the soil was the most practical method of getting air in and getting the water out. As Northern Europeans built empires in other climates, they brought this plow into more and more arid areas. The application of high-rainfall techniques to dryland farming have been disastrous, creating soil death and desertification everywhere it goes.

The modern "no-till" movement is a reaction against these techniques, and for good reason. However, without very careful biological management over a long period of time, soil health will improve slowly, if at all.

Fortunately, there is another way. A subsoil plow penetrates deeply into the soil, perhaps as little as 8 inches, but up to 20" when needed. However, when properly operated, the subsoil plow does not invert the soil, leaving the organic matter, biologically active, and subsoil layers in their proper vertical order. However, the increased gas exchange and water infiltration will rapidly and effectively increase the depth of the biologically active layer. When proper grazing and seeding methods are added on top of subsoil plowing, the amount of biologically active, water retentive, and root receptive soil can be increased many times over in just a few years.

When the soil is split apart, many thousands of tiny cracks and pore spaces are created on each side of the rip. Air, water, roots, and fungal hyphae are able to move into these new homes created by the rips. Anaerobic microbiology and plants are disturbed and suffer a dieback, providing new food for the more beneficial microbes. Great Circles also increases the microbiological diversity and speed of this process by injecting compost tea directly into the rips. All of the new biological life and decaying old matter becomes fuel for plants at the next stage of nature's successional improvement plan. Ideally the better plants are planted during or immediately after ripping, to "hold open" the rips against the compacting forces of rain, animals, and machinery. 

Whereas nature may take hundreds or thousands of years to repair desertification, the subsoil plow can help move even the hardest ground into productive land in a handful of years. Contact Great Circles to schedule a no obligation evaluation to see how subsoil plowing, tea injection, and planting can improve your ground.