The moment when Jerry Doan “finally got soil health” was when an Australian researcher visited his ranch, Black Leg Ranch in Burleigh County.
It was the middle of summer, a hot 95-degree day in North Dakota.
“She took out a thermometer and stuck it in the soil. It read 68 degrees,” Doan said. “Did you know that at 70 degrees, 100 percent of the soil moisture is going to plant growth. In addition, at 70 degrees, the biological activity in the soil is at its maximum.”
That meant all the regenerative soil health measures that Doan has incorporated on the ranch over the years was truly paying off.
In conventional till, where the soil is disturbed, the soil temperature could read 100 degrees, and that means only 15 percent of the moisture received will go to plant growth. And if the soil temperature is higher – 140 degrees – all bacteria in the soil that supports the plant dies off.