Wautoma, WI
Current Conditions
0:56 AM CST
Clear
Temperature
23°F
Dew Point
2°F
Humidity
40%
Wind
S at 10 mph
Barometer
30.38 in. F
Visibility
10.00 mi.
Sunrise
06:59 a.m.
Sunset
04:25 p.m.
Morning Forecast (7:00am-12:00pm)
Temperatures will range from 0 to 23 degrees with mostly clear skies. Winds will range between 5 and 11 miles per hour from the south. No precipitation is expected.
7-Day Forecast
Friday
33°F / 0°F
Partly Cloudy
Saturday
42°F / 33°F
Light Rain
Sunday
44°F / 28°F
Light Rain
Monday
30°F / 18°F
Mostly Cloudy
Tuesday
24°F / 15°F
Partly Cloudy
Wednesday
29°F / 10°F
Partly Cloudy
Thursday
13°F / 0°F
Sunny
Detailed Short Term Forecast
Issued at 0:56 AM CST
Friday...Temperatures will range from a high of 33 to a low of 0 degrees with partly cloudy skies. Winds will range between 5 and 18 miles per hour from the southsouthwest. No precipitation is expected.
This Afternoon ...Temperatures will range from 29 to 25 degrees with partly cloudy skies. Winds will range between 12 and 16 miles per hour from the south. No precipitation is expected.
This Evening ...Temperatures will range from 26 to 29 degrees with mostly cloudy skies. Winds will remain steady around 16 miles per hour from the south. No precipitation is expected.
Overnight ...Temperatures will range from 30 to 32 degrees with cloudy skies. Winds will range between 11 and 16 miles per hour from the southwest. No precipitation is expected.
Saturday...Temperatures will range from a high of 42 to a low of 33 degrees with cloudy skies. Winds will range between 8 and 13 miles per hour from the southsouthwest. Less than 1 tenth inch of rain is possible.

Managing soil compaction can be tricky

March 29, 2014 | 0 comments

RICHFIELD

The risk of compacting soil is always present but becomes greater during wet field conditions.

During a conference sponsored by the Washington County Land and Water Conservation Department together with University of Wisconsin-Extension, Francisco Arriaga, Extension soil specialist, reviewed ideas for detecting soil compaction and then offered management strategies to help minimize the impact.

Soil compaction reduces the amount of pore spaces in the soil which, in turn, reduces aeration and water retention.

"Compaction impairs root growth and development," he said. "It causes runoff, and water tends to accumulate in wheel tracks where it sets up conditions for soil erosion. That water is not available to plants.

"If less water is available to the plant, nutrient uptake is also limited, and nitrogen is denitrified and lost because of less aeration in the soil."

Arriaga outlined the causes of soil compaction including traffic on fields at the wrong time. Other causes include heavier equipment, high tire pressure, repeated traffic, excessive tillage and poor soil structure.

Solutions

Tracks are an option for spreading out the weight of the equipment, but he said they also have some issues. Adding axels to grain carts and a good setup with duals on tractors with proper tire pressure can be just as effective or better than tracks.

"While duals put less pressure on the track, they still leave two tracks rather than one," he said. "Highway tires are the worst thing for fields."

With spring coming, he cautioned farmers to stay off their fields until they are dry enough.

"After doing any kind of tillage it's a good idea to wait and let those aggregates get together again before re-entering the field," he added. "Once you have compaction, it hangs around a long time."

Establishing permanent tracks

Arriaga said many grain farmers are establishing permanent tracks in fields with help from GPS systems, and he cited the results of some studies that look at the benefits of this practice.

In the first example, traffic patterns were established for 30-inch rows with the planter spacing set at 60 inches and the combine head set at 120 inches. That left eight traffic lanes per 12 rows and resulted in 44 percent of the field driven over.

In the second example, an 8-row planter was used with 120-inch spacing and the combine also had 120-inch spacing. That resulted in three traffic lanes per 12 rows or 17 percent of the field driven over.

In a third example, he had a 12-row planter spaced at 60 inches between tires and 120 inches between tires on the 12-row combine. That resulted in 4 traffic lanes per 12 rows or 22 percent of the field driven over.

"Bigger isn't necessarily better," Arriaga said. "Bigger in these example was better than the first illustration, but the 12 row was not better than the 8 row."

Determining compaction

The best way to determine if compaction is an issue is to examine the corn roots. A flat root is an indication of compaction. If roots go straight down and deep, there is no compaction issue.

Using a penetrometer is another way to check for compaction. Results of the reading are affected by clay content in the soil, soil moisture and bulk density.

Arriaga pointed out that sub-soiling is expensive and takes a lot of power. 

"Set the sub-soiler about two inches deeper than the bottom of the compacted layer," he said. "Going lower will not be beneficial; it is expensive and could do more harm than good."

He reminded growers that sub-soiling when it is not needed, or going deeper than necessary, can actually decrease crop yields because it brings up soil that has no fertility in it.

Arriaga also sees some promise in using plants to break the compaction layer. Bio-tillage, as it is called, is done with deep-rooted cover crops that decay and also help build organic matter in the soil.

Freezing and thawing helps break up shallow compaction but does little for deeper compaction layers.

As farmers look forward to getting out onto the fields in spring, Arriaga suggested, "If you know you have a compaction issue, and the spring is wet, I'd hold off on trying to fix it until fall. If you do it when it is wet, as it could be this spring, it could do more harm than good."

This site uses Facebook comments to make it easier for you to contribute. If you see a comment you would like to flag for spam or abuse, click the "x" in the upper right of it. By posting, you agree to our Terms of Use.

Page Tools

Search

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement