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Plowman's Folly

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  47 ratings  ·  11 reviews
Mr. Faulkner’s masterpiece is recognized as the most important challenge to agricultural orthodoxy that has been advanced in this century. Its new philosophy of the soil, based on proven principles and completely opposed to age-old concepts, has had a strong impact upon theories of cultivation around the world. It was on July 5, 1943, when Plowman’s Folly was first issued, ...more
Paperback, 174 pages
Published February 20th 2012 by University of Oklahoma Press (first published January 28th 1943)
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Aug 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shortly after the Dust Bowl experience many in the agricultural world focused on trying to understand how it had happened and to identify the major contributing causes. The deeply-penetrating and inversing actions of the moldboard plow is the primary suspect per Faulkner. He cogently explains how this implement, while the true boon to mankind for its allowing us to use the originally lush and nourishing prairie and woodland soils to produce incredible harvests, has ultimately depleted soils wher ...more
Brian Griffith
Feb 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
This is a classic of clarity on the practices and costs of unsustainable farming.
Justin Rose
Although _Plowman's Folly_ has proved to be influencial in Ameircan agriculture, this book's limited scope makes it a frustrating read. It touches very little or not at all on several important subjects in the field of soils such as soil type, soil pH, slope, elevation, etc. The author does spend time on weeds, but ignores that they are invasive and mostly introduced. How does he account for weeds in pasturelands? Likewise, he says that erosion doesn't occur without agriculture. This au natural ...more
Gina Rheault
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Jane Jacobs of soil. A non-academic farmer/county extension agent, through observation and experiment and fundamental thinking comes to a philosophy of agriculture: that the soil itself is fundamental and that moldboard plowing that may have been the right tool for breaking up virgin soil with centuries established vegetation has become a mindless bad habit in the modern era; and further that restoring health to depleted fields is doable over a few seasons of growing green manures and focusing o ...more
Kathy Kaderly
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book described how soil is depleted by erosion through the use of the moldboard plow. The fact that it was written in 1943 and farmers continue to use the plow to prepare the soil for planting is sad. Tony Jupiter also indicated in his book, "What has nature ever done for us" that plowing contributes to global warming through the loss of topsoil and the emission of carbon dioxide ...more
Kevin Revolinski
Mar 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An important read. Wisdom that is lost in the age of industrial farms, GMO seeds, and massive amounts of insecticides, fertilizers, herbicides. A student asks his professor Why do we plow? and doesn't get a sensible answer. His quest to find out if farming can be done without turning over the soil turned into this book. Read this and The One-Straw Revolution and have your mind blown. ...more
Karen Mahtin
Good for those who are interested in the history of research into low-till/no-till. Faulkner based his ideas on just a couple of years of growing this way in his garden.
Will G
Mar 01, 2021 rated it liked it
This book needed more rye disked into the surface.
Meg Leader
Given that it was written years ago based on his work in the 1930s, it was interesting. But, after a third of it, it was soooo boring.
deleted d
Jan 02, 2015 rated it it was ok
Not interested in agriculture, but what I took from this book is always question everything. Just because someone has been doing it one way for ages doesn't mean it's the right way or the best way by any means. ...more
Robert Campbell
Dec 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
75 years later farmers are still using the plow

I don,t understand after all these years, and all the research that proves plowing is destroying our soil it continues. Very sad.
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