Scent of Spring

Inside Dakota Ag

The smell of freshly plowed fields used to be one great things about spring on a farm. But now it makes Dan Forgey sick.

Published on: March 1, 2011
You know the smell of freshly plowed fields?

It makes Dan Forgey sick.

Forgey, manager of Cronin Farms, Gettysburg, S.D., says he has come to understand that the classic scent of spring in the Dakotas is  really the odor of dying soil microbes.

“It’s the last thing I want to smell.”

Forgey is a long-time no-tiller who has recently started using cover crops to keep a living plants and roots and and in on the soil as long as possible.

“The soil is alive. It likes and needs to be fed just like we do,” he says.

The smell of freshly tilled fields is a sign of major loss of soil life, he says.