Top Soil is Disappearing

The Earth has enough mud and dirt for farmers to grow food, right? Maybe not. The food plants are usually best grown in top soil which has organic mulch combined with silt and sand. Like the farms in Iowa have, which is considered extremely fertile top soil and allows the farmers to grow soyabean, maize and oats in world topping production.

Unfortunately the world over, Iowa included, top soil is disappearing. What used to be 14-16 inches of top soil in Iowa at the beginning of the 20th century has now reduced to merely 6-8 inches this year. About one third of the top soil across the world is disappearing in a combination of extensive farming practices and increased rain and storms which wash away the soil.

The process to form top soil takes centuries, which means that we may not have enough top soil left in a couple of decades to grow food for our growing human population. Researchers are working on modifying some wheat plants so that they don’t have roots as deep as the traditional forms. If successful it will be used to modify other plants

This science experiment may help the farmers grow plants even in low levels of top soil. In other studies researchers are trying to grow plants without any soil at all. Using a fluid which is nutrient rich in a green house to grow spinach. Only time will tell what the future of farming will bring.

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