117 Professor Köpke how can you determine good soil Firstly from its loose structure Does it develop what we call mellowness so is it nicely porous and crum bly throughout Do earthworms appear Does it smell If I add plant residue does it break it down relatively quickly Is the soil full of life or does plant residue re main undigested by micro organisms for a long time And how do you put life into soil Mainly by supplying abundant amounts of prima ry organic matter such as rotting plant residue Farmyard manure and compost in particular are es pecially beneficial to soil fertility and quality Competitions to crown the best dunghills were held in Germany into the forties In the case of the Württemberg Dunglege a meth od of heaping dung the solid manure in the village was piled up on a grill in front of the house The liquid phase was collected in a cesspit below All of the dung hills were piled up nicely and precisely On Sunday the neighbours would scrutinise them as they passed If your A pot of tea with Prof Ulrich Köpke Known for his polished shoes he strides knowledgeably in them over the living soil dunghill was neat and tidy then so was your stable and this also reflected on how you ran your household as a whole So beautiful dung had mainly a social function Yes laughs social proximity through scrutinising dung hills By the way it made a lot of sense to separate sol ids and liquids in the dung even though people would not have always known the full reasons behind this at the time Liquid manure is really rich in potassium If dung is simply left lying around at the edge of a field in a heap on the ground as was often the case in the past then the potassium and other plant nutrients seeping out ac cumulate under the dunghill which means they are no longer available for the crops growing in the fields Is organic farming further advancing this knowledge Certainly and all the more easily if the organic farmer runs his farmyard as a mixed operation combining livestock farm ing ruminants cattle if possible and crop production Then field forage cultivation with its high quantities of roots and offshoots can be used to boost and maintain soil fertil ity The field forage ingested by the livestock transformed into dung and manure is returned to the fields specifically We have to admit that we do not fully know what humus is Nature

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