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LETTER: P.E.I. soils need organic matter

Contact The Guardian to submit a letter to the Editor.
Contact The Guardian to submit a letter to the Editor. - SaltWire Network


A study of soil conditions in P.E.I. has revealed that soil with only 2 to 3 per cent organic matter has gone from 10 per cent to 73 per cent since 1998. The soil is getting poorer.

We are told irrigation systems are only there as an insurance against dry weather. I would submit that irrigation systems are in place to push productivity in depleted soil.

If I were the provincial minister of agriculture, I would have it that all irrigation systems need a permit and there would be conditions to get that permit.

A three-year rotation with one year of forages (corn not considered a forage) would be required for irrigated land. An organic matter of better than 3 per cent would be required.

Organic matter holds water; so depleted soils do not have the carrying capacity to hold water so this makes for wasteful irrigation. Organic matter does a lot of other good things too.

What concerns me the most is that lots of former civilizations all turned to irrigation before they collapsed. The Romans, Mesopotamians, the Nile region of Egypt, all got into irrigation to push their fading resources but flamed out in the end. Lets’ not be them.

Ranald MacFarlane,


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