Get up early on a mid summer morning in Tuscany and you’ll discern the metallic squeech of Lamborghini caterpillar tractors slowly pulling immense 2-bottom deep-plows across the hilly Landscape, in preparation for fall grain sowing. How does that work? Conditioned to American reduced-tillage views one is shocked automatically. Yet they’ve been doing some form of this for centuries (the Etruscan plough dates to 500 BC). We ran our own soil health tests: in the intense mid summer heat (100F), basal respiration is nearly dormant (as is soil moisture) with virtually no detectable nitrate. Once re-wetted in the lab the soils exhibited a lively Solvita CO2 burst,- exactly what we expect to happen in the fall when rains return as durum grains are planted. Aggregate stability was excellent as well as OM. These soils appear to have survived well a management regime which in another time and place would be destructive. Still, change is coming and the mapping of IBF across the provinces, with a focus on practices putting some Italian soils in danger, is progressing slowly. One thing is certain, they’ve kept these soils well for millennia and no wonder: the culture depends on it. For more info on the IBF system and our soil health test results for Italian soils, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.