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Best soil in the world


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So recently I had to attend an orientation meeting for my summer internship in Bloomington, IL.  And was absolutely blown away by how dark, deep, and rock free the soil was. 

Noticing me staring in awe at some dirt and corn stalks a local informed me the area between Bloomington and champagne has the most fertile soil in the world.  The thing is that’s not the first time I’ve been told that, I have a neighbor who was to California and claims the topsoils 50 feet deep, heard stories about the Mississippi delta being amazing, know the national corn record was set in soil on the east coast, and have heard many locals claim Lancaster county dirt is the best in the world.   

All I know is this.......the most fertile soil in the world definitely isn’t on my farm!

so where do you folks think the best soil is???

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It is good black soil for sure. The dark stuff starts about 1.5hrs north of me and I dont know about 50’ of topsoil, but it is deep because as the last ice age receded Northward all the topsoil was scraped off here and left in the voids up that way leaving things flat and fertile.  Less than 200bu/acre average is a crop failure up that way. The money paid for ground and rent reflects that also. 

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20 minutes ago, Sledgehammer said:

It is good black soil for sure. The dark stuff starts about 1.5hrs north of me and I dont know about 50’ of topsoil, but it is deep because as the last ice age receded Northward all the topsoil was scraped off here and left in the voids up that way leaving things flat and fertile.  Less than 200bu/acre average is a crop failure up that way. The money paid for ground and rent reflects that also. 

That makes sense now, the darn ice took all my dirt and gave it to them. I’m left with rocky ridges and trees🤬. I hope their combine plugs up this year on them.😎. Just kidding that area is some of the best soil I’ve been around. 

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We grew tomatoes on a place where Pine Creek and the west branch of the susquehanna meet..............they had to put a irrigation landing and a stand pipe in before the ground was leased to the cannery and we did the custom work, so I was there showing them what I wanted as far as the bank being cut and the riser pipe set............They cut into the bank to put the road in with a 320 Cat and moved a pile of top soil at some depth too down to the water.........never hit a rock of any size and the earth was nice and dark.  They said the top soil there went to serious depths.  Was the only farm I was ever on that I never hit a rock ripping between tomato rows.  There was other ground close to it here, but none that nice and it laid completely flat.  

With all that said, that ground was nice..............until you had a wet fall............it had completely no bottom in it!

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chernozem Well I don't know about that claim in IL. I want to see the scientific data to prove it. What makes IL better for corn over the Red River valley in ND and MN? Ain't the soil. Simple, Growing season. Guys here have just started planting corn. We can get our first killing frost right around Labor Day. So most farmers here will plant corn over the next 3 weeks. Most of em as short to maturity as possible. And they, with irrigation will pull 220-230 BPA. But the corn will mature and start to dry down before the first frost. just doesn't yield as much.

 

From what I can find the US record corn yield is over 500 BPA from some guy in VA, not IA or IL. I think it's a case of "mine'ss bigger". For example IA had a record yield. That is for the state as in exceeded the prior total production for one year all corn growers combined. So someone trying to claim IA is better might miss the whole statement and only see IA has the record yield. Might be the case in IL too.

 

Rick

 

 

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read an article a few years back about some area in the delta with eighty to one hundred feet of top soil.

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Don't know much about the I states but I  know some about the Mississippi River Delta. I  was an engineer at a paper mill near McGehee AR back in the early 90s and for a time I worked with the well water we used for boiler water. The geological work we had done showed over 750 ft of alluvial soil. Our pumps were set that deep. It was mostly silt loam with zones ranging from clay loam to sand. There is alot of great soil there and alot of water available for irrigation. Corn yields of 200 bushels are normal, not bad considering corn is a 'new ' crop in the delta. I never saw corn in the delta back then. Just cotton or rice and a few soybeans.
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The soil on my place is similar but not that deep. It ranges from as shallow as 10 ft on some pasture land to 50+ft on my cropland. My cropland floods too often for corn but my rice yields are around 180 bushels. My place is in the river valley between the ozarks and the ouachita mountains. Most of this part of the state is rocky.

Thx-Ace

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Ace. I’d love to come visit you some time but I don’t like snakes. 🤷‍♂️  That means I’ll just have to do a drive by. All joking aside what changed that made guys get away with corn? Newer hybrids, water table change? Just curious 

 

 

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The delta got interested in corn when the price went crazy high and cotton was in the tank a few years back. Most of the corn in Arkansas is grown on cotton ground.

My uncle used to have a ranch in North central Arkansas near calico rock. He had areas of 'sheet rock'. Large areas of exposed flatish rock on mountain ground. To set a corner post he either blasted or made a circle with hog wire and filled it with rocks. The rocks were too hard to use a rock bar... he might have had good soil but there wasn't much of it.

Come on down. We got plenty of water for ya. I'll be planting rice in the morning  (friday).

Thx-Ace

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We deal with a 1/2 inch to maybe 3 to 5 inches of topsoil here. Most of it was lost in the 60s to 80s with  summer fallow and lots of tillage. Snow was black in winter when it blew and snow melt and rain water washed it into lakes. They have done a study on some land around Fargo. In 1950 there was almost 60 inches of topsoil in this one spot now there is only 23 inches left another 70 years of farming 5000 an acre land will be gone. And actually for corn yields some of the best land is around wapheton Nd. There corn yield rivals southern mn. Which is supposedly the highest avg area in USA.  They can grow 100 plus day corn with avg yields on test plots hitting the high 200s now and field avg running in the 240 to 260 area.

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Speaking of tomatoes....Parents live in northwestern Illinois just north of the Rock River.  Dad has been out of farming quite awhile now but the garden he grows is ridiculous.  Bumper crop no matter what he puts in.  He doesn't fertilize and hardly ever waters.   Just plants the stuff and maybe hoes a few weeds.  That good black dirt sure seems to hold the moisture well into the hot dry summers.  Has had the same results for years and he's heard the land around him gives the best yields in the county.  I dont know about that but the garden sure yields! 

And its pretty interesting how the ground is flat as a pancake south of the River then on the north side of the river it starts gently rolling then continues to get more and more hilly heading into Wisconsin. 

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Fwiw.....I have read report that the Ukrainian has some of the fertilist soil in the world.  Not sure if any better than Ill or IA but sounds neat.  And of all places....Mozambique....guy whole runs big soy operation for Chinese govt said in article, "if politics and etc were none existent and God said to the 1st farmer he made (adam) he could farm anywhere he wanted he would of choose Mozambique. "  Mediterranean weather and deep black soils with decent water and rain patterns.  The pics looked beautiful. 

We have nice sandy loam, or clay, or peat, or mucky weird stuff.  We have all 4 on 400 acres.  There is big pockets of most varieties.  Peat is old lake beds...clay is who knows....loam is on top of gravel.

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I have to vote with Ace-------but, I might be somewhat prejudiced!!!!

20180720_141646.thumb.jpg.0378475bfef4485f149088bb4a58f8c6.jpg

 

Delta Dirt is my real estate logo------I pulled the "most fertile on the globe" statement off of a survey dated 1914 of my grampa's land describing the Delta area by an old time surveyor.  The quote was just too good to pass up!!!

We do have some highly productive alluvial soils here in the Delta-------but some are better than others.  Our soils were deposited here by the Mississippi River flooding before establishment of the mainline Levee system.  Based on the drainage pattern of the Mississippi River basin-------our Delta soils may have washed in here from as far away as Montana, New York and even a small area of Canada.  So thank you boys for sending your Dirt down this way!!!🤠

 

mississippi_watershed_map_1.jpg.39093b564da6ffbda79816bf565730c2.jpg.f9862c8e5f32789df8700f86bbc1437a.jpg

 

I am located just south of Greenville on the map.  We do have a moderate climate, good soils, and most of all a good underground irrigation water source recharged each season by the Mississippi River.  But who's to say where is the best soil-------alot depends on what you want to do with it.

Worth noting-------the flatland Delta region encompasses only approximately 25% of the state of Mississippi.

 

Hoping Farmall Fan doesn't take my post as an advertisement!!!!!😏

20181006_173239.thumb.jpg.52e7983c56fc03a787981f75b39374a3.jpg

 

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Here it varies alot. Clay subsoil with zero up to a foot of topsoil on it. Not uncommon to be turning under subsoil when moldboarding. If well fertilized and taken  care of it can grow great crops if not or let run down it grows very little. Have some we are renting and getting back into production barely grows weeds. Field beside it had saplings growing in it all in the soil composition. Some parts of fields grow better than others. Drainage can be funky too

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6 minutes ago, Delta Dirt said:

I have to vote with Ace-------but, I might be somewhat prejudiced!!!!

20180720_141646.thumb.jpg.0378475bfef4485f149088bb4a58f8c6.jpg

 

Delta Dirt is my real estate logo------I pulled the "most fertile on the globe" statement off of a survey dated 1914 of my grampa's land describing the Delta area by an old time surveyor.  The quote was just too good to pass up!!!

We do have some highly productive alluvial soils here in the Delta-------but some are better than others.  Our soils were deposited here by the Mississippi River flooding before establishment of the mainline Levee system.  Based on the drainage pattern of the Mississippi River basin-------our Delta soils may have washed in here from as far away as Montana, New York and even a small area of Canada.  So thank you boys for sending your Dirt down this way!!!🤠

 

mississippi_watershed_map_1.jpg.39093b564da6ffbda79816bf565730c2.jpg.f9862c8e5f32789df8700f86bbc1437a.jpg

 

I am located just south of Greenville on the map.  We do have a moderate climate, good soils, and most of all a good underground irrigation water source recharged each season by the Mississippi River.  But who's to say where is the best soil-------alot depends on what you want to do with it.

Worth noting-------the flatland Delta region encompasses only approximately 25% of the state of Mississippi.

 

Hoping Farmall Fan doesn't take my post as an advertisement!!!!!😏

20181006_173239.thumb.jpg.52e7983c56fc03a787981f75b39374a3.jpg

 

That's where all our good soil went to

Amazing how large the Mississippi basin is

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Our top soil ranges from blown off down to nothing from 100 years of farming to 2-4".  Combine that with our 12-14" precip average we are limited on what we can grow.  Its actually amazing we can grow 50 bu wheat on just a good year whereas 40 years ago 25 bpa would have been a good crop. 

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8 hours ago, TroyDairy said:

Fwiw.....I have read report that the Ukrainian has some of the fertilist soil in the world.  Not sure if any better than Ill or IA but sounds neat.  And of all places....Mozambique....guy whole runs big soy operation for Chinese govt said in article, "if politics and etc were none existent and God said to the 1st farmer he made (adam) he could farm anywhere he wanted he would of choose Mozambique. "  Mediterranean weather and deep black soils with decent water and rain patterns.  The pics looked beautiful. 

We have nice sandy loam, or clay, or peat, or mucky weird stuff.  We have all 4 on 400 acres.  There is big pockets of most varieties.  Peat is old lake beds...clay is who knows....loam is on top of gravel.

Listened to a speaker at a coop annual meeting once. They had just visited Russia and Ukraine in the late 90s. He said the top soil and crops they raised with very little modern practice was unreal. I read once also there is a spot in eastern China that was amazing land that was still prairie.

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10 hours ago, Bgriffin856 said:

Here it varies alot. Clay subsoil with zero up to a foot of topsoil on it. Not uncommon to be turning under subsoil when moldboarding. If well fertilized and taken  care of it can grow great crops if not or let run down it grows very little. Have some we are renting and getting back into production barely grows weeds. Field beside it had saplings growing in it all in the soil composition. Some parts of fields grow better than others. Drainage can be funky too

This post says a lot! One spot on the farm that was pasture for who knows how long before Dad plowed it up about 7 years ago would barely grow grass. Kind of rocky too. After a few years of row crop and the fertilizer that goes with that you can't hardly tell any difference from the rest of the farm. I still pick up rocks there every spring.

 

One thing about 'The best soil in the world". I think it's largely local pride that drives statements like that. Very subjective and hard to prove.

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I like my clay. Holds moisture in the dry years. In the wet years it does well too just tough to get worked up.

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Reading this thread makes me jealous about some of your guy's soil. It also makes me wonder what the H--- my ancestors were thinking when they settled here. We have Heinz 57 soil. A little bit of everything except good rich black dirt 3 feet deep. Topsoils vary from next to nothing to maybe 6 or 8 inches. And plenty of rock to pick. (I refer to rock as Glacier $---, because the glaciers sure $--- on us around here)

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When I was in Egypt I was told the most fertile ground in the world is What’s next to the Nile river by Cairo and Luxor .

Its  been farmed for over four thousand years .

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