Agronomy Tip: Manage Water and Nutrient Runoff Caused by Soil Compaction

Because compacted soil has lost air space to hold oxygen, water cannot infiltrate. When heavy rains fall on compacted areas of fields, the water runs off and carries soil and nutrients away with it.

Matt Nelson, Channel Technical Agronomist explains, “That soil then ends up in our road ditches, it ends up in our streams. A nutrient like phosphorus is held very tightly to soil and that ends up in our rivers. Also, the increased rainfall during the season moves our nitrogen out of the soil where plants can use it. Some of that nitrogen will actually end up in groundwater.”

Management practices like strip till, no till, buffer strips, cover crops, and precision fertilizer applications can help reduce soil compaction and the loss of precious soil and inputs.

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