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Seeing is Believing: See Why It’s So Important to Avoid Wet Soils

04/25/2013 @ 10:44am

Cold, wet  weather throughout April has delayed planting. As soon as the sun starts shining, farmers will be eager to enter their fields.  However, clear skies and sunshine don’t necessary mean that conditions are fit for planting.  It's “worth the wait” to let fields dry before doing any work.  

You’ll cause yourself headaches – and your crop problems – if you try to plant in unfit conditions.   This photograph, taken by Latham’s regional sales manager for Wisconsin, shows how corn plants from the same field fared.  Note how compaction took its toll on the plant on the left.  You can see how the impact of compaction is felt all season long.

The top 10 reasons to avoid soil compaction include: stunted plant growth; slow infiltration of water and/or ponding; high surface runoff and soil erosion under normal or light rainfall; poor root system establishment; and nutrient deficiency. 

It literally pays to understand and manage soil compaction.  The #1 way to avoid soil compaction now is to wait for the fields to dry.  In a video by Latham Corn Product Special Nick Benson, you’ll see how to use a quick field test to check the 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. 

For additional tips on how and why to avoid soil compaction, take a few minutes to read these related posts:

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