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Combat Soil Crusting

05/29/2013 @ 1:43pm

Rain fell hard and fast in some areas throughout Memorial Day weekend.  We could see after-effects like soil crusting, which can result in poor growing conditions and reduced water infiltration. 

Soil crusting might be a bigger problem in tilled fields where there isn’t must crop residue.  To help break up the crust and improve seedling emergence, many farmers will use a rotary hoe.  

Wait until soils have dried before using a hoe, so you don’t exacerbate the situation with soil compaction.  Use a quick field test to check soil moisture.  Simply mold a length of soil between your index finger and thumb, or roll it into a ball in your hand. Observe whether the soil breaks apart as you work it. If you toss the ball of soil into the air and it shatters or cracks upon falling to the ground, then conditions are likely suitable for tillage or planting. 

Avoid compaction by avoiding wet soils:

  1. Pay attention to soil crusting after rains
  2. Check soil conditions before you plant 
  3. Reduce or minimize soil compaction by:

a.       Avoiding wet soils

b.      Reducing tillage.

c.       Using the right implements.  

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