Since medieval times farmers have developed various ways to tell if soils are in good condition. These include smell, colour, the so-called “feel procedure” (rubbing and squeezing), and even taste!
Nowadays, modern techniques are available to measure moisture content, nutrient availability, particle sizes, organic carbon contents and other parameters. But farmers still love to smell, touch and feel their soils.
Soil condition is important because it affects, amongst other things, root penetration, aeration, drainage, and vulnerability to erosion. For this reason, farmers use conservation agriculture practices such as planting cover crops and no-/low-till to care for soils today, and for future generations.
Try the “feel procedure” (YouTube) yourself!