To a subsoiler

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Soil compaction is one of the most serious environmental problems caused by conventional agriculture. Compaction occurs when pore space between soil particles reduces, this creates a challenging environment for crops and plants to take root and thrive. Marl soils, for example, tend to have a high moisture content and are therefore extremely prone to compaction. When soils become compacted over time due to frequent cultivation practices using heavy machinery farmers can use a tool called a subsoiler to loosen and break up compaction in deeper layers of soil. This technique is somewhat outdated and biological and regenerative methods now provide a more sustainable approach to mitigating soil compaction. This poem describes a 1960s subsoiler that I encountered abandoned in a field.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationConsilience Journal
Publication statusPublished - 19 Dec 2022


  • agriculture
  • soil management
  • cultivated land
  • science communication
  • poetry


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