Soil Health Principles – Ray Archuleta

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A presentation by Ray Archuleta of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service at the National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health.

This session covered basic soil health principles necessary to build soil health, such as minimizing soil disturbance, keeping the soil covered at all times, growing a living root year round, and using plant diversity above ground to increase diversity below. It also reviewed soil health testing procedures.

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31 Comments
  1. JB24 says

    I was doing some searching about Hitler and fuhrer princip and I saw this video with the speaker's arm up like he was doing a "heil hitler" salute. This isn't right. Google needs to fix that.

  2. billiebaz says

    Now looking at the two dust storm images, is the oldest one darker due to a higher level of OM and carbon

  3. rollie e says

    Ray I run a grader for a living and as a comparison and contrast my goal in fixing a gravel road is to create compaction. Traditional agriculture hasn't figured out that traditional crop production for the last 200 years has actually been road building our land not growing crops.

  4. Bret McGraw says

    So much fluff

  5. Karen Fretz says

    Viktor Schauberger, Austrian naturalist and forester, knew how important it was to observe and mimic Mother Nature. His knowledge was amazing, yet he was poo-pooed. He had a brilliant system design to prevent flooding in rivers. It took decades for the Europeans to embrace his design. So much time, energy, resources, and money wasted. Shame. Mother Nature ALWAYS has the answers. Thank you Ray A. and Allen Williams…. Gabe, too.

  6. Stormy Sampson says

    Ugh. Ray I am very unhappy with your message. What the hell are glues? Organic matter? What does this have to do with tilling? I would NEVER plant in soil that are compacted, soggy. I will always double dig one time at the beginning. Always. That will NOT ruin soil. That will ensure air for plant and animal life within the top 6" of soil. I add trenches to promote better drainage. I will always add fertilizer, balanced simple chemicals those plants have to have to make their own food. These people who told me to go watch your stuff are in a world of hurt. They are so dang confused they dump compost in the aisles to make fungus to make plants happy? Fungus is IN the soil, in the dang air we breathe. I will always double dig my plant beds (clays for sure), trench at the bottom, even plant beds for ornamentals between the lawn and the beds. ONCE. I don't have to do it ever again. Sorry, to think that one time double digging ruins the soil is flat out idiocy. Yet I have drainage. I clean out the trenches once per year and dump decomposed organic matter on the surface of my beds, my beds are continually 'recycling', fluffy, hold moisture and bits of fertilizer I most certainly will always add…and my soil is almost raw pumice.I've made beds in caliche clay the same way. Clay and sand and all the other texture mixes all have management practices attached. Know how to manage your type of soil. Period. Do soil tests. At least ONCE and then a second a few years later. I've never found any soil ANY SOIL to come with the chemistry plants have to have to do photosynthesis to make their own food. I've been very educated in this field but more importantly I have worked hands on for more than 4 decades. No till and No fertilizer and Permaculture and Food forests are the lamest fads for newbie gardeners I could imagine promoting.

  7. Stormy Sampson says

    I just started your video. We are on the same page. So far. I am in debates about fertilizer, compost, soils…and I still have had no reason to think my very educated self could do any better with different models. New and improved 'models'…how to promote plant growth with the least input. Definitely using the least additives possible. Soil is soil is soil. Little pieces of rock. That is soil. One has to know how to manage their type of soil on the soil pyramid. We are needing to make soil PRODUCE when we plant seeds. There is no way sweet heart to make a 'permaculture' out of our gardens…our gardens are ARTIFICIAL. We humans make or touch anything and that makes whatever we do ARTIFICIAL. We need to understand the processes for ecosystems to do our best to match what plants need, what plants know in order to FORCE plants to produce crops of food, to produce lots of flowers, to be healthy living in an artificial system. We humans most certainly can do this but I have to warn you, I haven't seen a single new 'fad' that makes sense not one little bit! We humans are so horribly arrogant to be able to say what soil is feeling, how to heal our land. Humans just need education and definitely hands ON. But please don't anthropomorphize stuff we don't know very well yet we KNOW it isn't human. And we humans barely understand the workings of our own body. Ecomimicry is a WONDERFUL label! Far more accurate and achievable than PERMACULTURE. Takes education not fads and gimmicks. Basics. I am still listening to your video, partly I like what you are saying, partly NOT liking what you are saying. I've got people who want to promote fungal mycelium to grow better lawns. Fungus is in all soil, not so much in sterilized potting mediums but why PROMOTE fungus? At the same time they are applying fungicide on a regular basis. Something is not being communicated! Still watching….

  8. Deborah Vaughan says

    Love this teaching. I sell land tracts ( primarily). I've always appreciated the land, but your explanations bring another level of connecting with the land and simple principles we should be practicing. Natural Cover, Biomimicry! Thank you 😉

  9. Hal Steward says

    You guys Seriously loose me at 3.8 billion years. Not real good at math are yah. Got tons of faith, but No Math.

  10. Main Street Project says

    Graze livestock for better soil. Check out our system.

  11. Nancy Lucas says

    How can we get you to be a speaker at our Agriculture conference next year? I have been watching and re-watching your videos for a year now. Thank you! Nancy

  12. Tall Cedars says

    I was exposed to the news when farmers tried to fight against Monsanto and agribusiness, but we the people didn't listen to them. Bless all those farmers who tried in the 60's and 70's!

  13. Sanjeev Kulkarni says

    Saw this video just now. Wonderful. I am experiencing all these changes in our soil of our forest farm – Suman Sangam [ sumansangam.org ]. Great stuff. Thanks a ton.

  14. melovescoffee says

    Thanks to all you amazing soil health people, (just name them, i watch and love them all) my 1/3 acre garden is completely no till. Thanks for having such amazing passion for soil health. If i hadn't known about it, i would still be digging or given up. The quality of the soil is getting better, the ecology is getting stronger and more diverse and i spray absolutely nothing. It is now the primary passion in my life and that will never change. I'm on a mission of sending all the home gardeners i know in this direction. I have seen it with my own eyes. This is what needs to happen. It's tough to break through habits, traditions and pride. I don't know why people are like that when confronted with the facts that will make things better for themselves and more importantly, the world and the future of humanity.

  15. tpsu129 says

    Yes, but how does one do Zero-till, small scale farming without the big equipment. I've seen the big crimpers and the planters that get the seed through the residue but nothing if you plant by hand expect clearing everything.

  16. JA M says

    Good water run off test at the end of this video around 19:32

  17. Build The Wall says

    hahaha…..this guy might be slightly high 🙂

  18. Wratheon 1776 says

    Symbiotic relationships in nature tell us that it was all created at the same time, or within a short time period. Read the Bible.

  19. It's OK to be white! its OK to be male! says

    At first I found the tone pretty negative. The end of the video is gold.

  20. Mike Hawkins says

    A career's worth of soil, agricultural, and ecological science in 25 minutes. Well Done! Every person involved with agriculture or agricultural policy needs to see this passionate presentation. Ray, you should be leading the nation's efforts with the next Farm Bill.

  21. Nate England says

    Ray, thanks, great video. I've put a link to this video in several comments on various blogs. Do you know if there is any research connecting the depth of plant roots and/or the health of the soil food web with nutrient value of food? If so, can you do a video on that? Maybe at Purdue?

  22. Benjamin Buyanza says

    Ray, whether you believe in God or not, I say God bless and keep up the excellent work

  23. Sudheer Shukla says

    I was blown away by Ray's boldness and conviction.  I posted this on Facebook and wrote THIS IS A MUST SEE. PUT YOUR LIFE ON HOLD AND WATCH THIS.  IT IS THAT GOOD.Does anyone know the current state of human cloning?  If we're not there yet, we need to speed it up and clone Ray big time!

  24. Dashama says

    Great video, thank you for your positive energy.Blessings and Love,Dashama

  25. Otto Ulyate says

    This man is a wizard of presentation. Soil health is serious and complex, Ray makes it simple to understand and compelling to strive for…..

  26. selfbow hunter. says

    Excellent!

  27. Ryan Minielly says

    excellent….. 

  28. Mike Donovan says

    Compelling viewing from start to finish from a world class speaker. 

  29. ProPaleo says

    Awesome talk, I would love a video explaining the practice for a small backyard garden

  30. Red Baron Farm says

    Another brilliant talk by Ray

  31. Sustainable4All says

    Only 5 minutes in and I already love it!No nonsense and going directly to the source.

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