Repairing Soil Compaction: A Holistic Approach

Soil In The Hands Of Farmers Concept Of Agricultu 2023 11 27 05 03 01 Utc Scaled

We read a great article from Thomas Kilcer at Advanced Ag Systems and wanted to share some of the key points. Here is a summary of the article:

Soil compaction, a significant agricultural challenge, often results from heavy machinery and improper tillage practices. Compaction not only reduces yield but also exacerbates cost per unit of production. Vertical tillage, thought to aid in drying fields, ironically leads to severe compaction, limiting root growth to merely a few inches.

Common misconceptions like frost eliminating compaction are debunked. For instance, compaction persisted in an alfalfa grass stand even after 15 years. Deep tillage is often the go-to solution, yet without proper tools and techniques, it can worsen soil condition. Effective compaction removal requires tools that penetrate beyond the compacted layer, lifting and loosening the soil without causing lateral compaction.

Researchers emphasize that deep tillage alone is insufficient; it must be part of a comprehensive system that considers soil conditions, timing, and crop selection. Ideally, compaction should be shattered when soil is friable, avoiding wet conditions that lead to smearing and further compaction. The goal is not to remove all compaction at once but to gradually improve soil structure, utilizing crops like winter forage triticale that stabilize loosened soil with deep, fibrous roots.

Preventive measures, such as reducing axle load and adjusting tire pressure, are crucial to avoid re-compaction, ensuring long-term soil health and productivity.

You can read the full article here: