The Open Furrow Projects Behind the Wire Dirt Hog's Companion On Point Explorations Agrosphere Journal

21 May 2016: Technical Note 2 'Particle and Bulk Density' is available for download. Technical Note 18, 'Soil Compaction' has been merged with Technical Note 2 beginning with Section 2.4. The rationale for doing this is that bulk density, compaction, porosity are related topics that should not be considered apart. If compaction is solely of interest then skip directly to Section 2.4. But we hope you'll take it all in!

08 February 2014: Technical Note 25 'Compost C:N Ratio and Recipe Making' is available for download in english (E) and metric (M) versions. At this time its sister publication 'Compost Bulk Density, Porosity, Moisture' is only available in english version.

03 March 2013: Technical Note 21 'Soil, Draft, and Traction' has been revised. This update includes some new content and corrects a medley of minor but irksome editorial flaws from prior versions.

03 March 2013: We now offer a Spanish version of Technical Note 21 'Relaciones Suelo, Tiro, y Labranza', courtesy of Jorge de Jesús Peña Camacho, Departamento de Ingenieria Universidad Nacional de Colombia, sede Palmira. Jorge received advanced training in agricultural engineering at UC Davis with emphasis on machine design. Though retired from teaching and research, he still contributes as occassional teacher in the agricultural machinery courses at Palmira. ¡Muchas gracias amigo!

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The Dirt Hog's Companion originally was organized around a series of technical notes addressing a single topic and together, formed part of a larger product entitled Field Manual for Troubleshooting Soil and Crop Productivity. This manual was prepared for summer interns enrolled in a 8-week field project troubleshooting agronomic problems at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems in Goldsboro, NC. The purpose of the technical notes was to instil a basic and above all practical understanding of soils as they relate to farming and agronomic problem solving. None of the interns had training in soil science or agronomy or experience farming, so it was necessary to boil down some complex ideas into simple unambiguous language for the non-specialist. In this hyper-specialized era, every profession has its coveted technical jargon. Soil science is no different. Albert Einstein once said that if he couldn't explain quantum physics in language the average person could understand he was overcomplicating things. That may be a stretch but, the point is, successful problem solving requires careful study, full description, and keen judgement at every point. Interns were encouraged to study the notes and lead a brief discussion of the concepts prior to each field excursion. Following are the technical notes in revised format (entries marked by an asterisk * are available for download). As more revisions are completed we'll add to the list. All notes are in pdf format and require Adobe's free pdf reader.

This site was created by Robert D. Walters in consultation with Jijy Thanwalee. Reproduction of author's content by permission only. Questions and/or comments about this site may be directed to This site and all content within it have not been endorsed by N.C. State University. Directory information for Robert D. Walters available here (via Linkedin).

This page was last modified on 24-Jan-2017 .