Soil Compaction Management at harvest time

Soil compaction can be a major issue for soil. Typically at harvest we have locations in the field that get abused with loading that involves both the harvest equipment and trucks. This year has been great weather for harvesting for the most part, but there is still damage done, but nowhere near the damage that is done to wet soils.

The following is a brief part of a more detailed article on the management of soil compaction during harvest that appears in this week’s C.O.R.N. newsletter ( that was written by Sjoerd Duiker, Penn State Soil Management Specialist in 2011.

Make soil more resilient to compaction:

Soil can be made to resist compaction by eliminating tillage, increasing organic matter content, and maintaining a living root system in the soil for as much time as possible. Any long-term no-till farmer will testify to the fact that tires do not sink as deep as in tilled soil. Soil that was tilled this spring or even in last year’s spring, will be more susceptible to compaction than a soil that has been in no-till continuously. Increasing organic matter content will also increase the resistance of the soil to compaction, because the spongy humus maintains porosity and also increases aggregate stability. Finally, a living root system at time of traffic would increase the resistance of the soil to compaction.

Avoid compaction:

It is advised to stay off the field until conditions are fit for traffic, but sometimes we never reach those conditions! At least, try to avoid creating ruts. If you have different soil types on the farm, start harvest on the better-drained soil types first.

Correct compaction:

When compaction has been caused, remedial action may be needed. This is especially the case if ruts have been created. If no ruts are seen it is probably not needed to do tillage – instead plant a cover crop to use the living root system to alleviate compaction.

Remember the negative consequences of tillage. It will be necessary to till deeper than the depth of compaction. Shallow ‘vertical tillage’ tools that only do tillage in the top four inches will not be sufficient to manage soil compaction.

Local Tire Collections Winding Down

There is only one local location remaining to get rid of old scrap tires for recycling this fall. The location is the Adams Brown Recycling in Georgetown, this Saturday, Oct. 24 starting at 9 a.m. and ending at 2 p.m.

The collections in Brown County are limited to 10 tires. There is a new requirement this year that larger farm tires (34 inch rim size and over) must be cut into quarters to be accepted. Tires will not be accepted from tire retailers or other businesses that collect or use tires as part of their normal business operations. Questions for tire collections in both counties can be directed to Adams Brown Recycling, 937-378-3431.

Black Walnuts

This year the hours are Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. until noon. The price remains at $14 per hundred. The location is Seaman Farm, Garden and Pet Center. The phone number is 386-2134. The store is located on SR 247 near the railroad tracks, about one mile north of SR 32.

Dates to Remember

Oct. 26 -Brown County Soil and Water Annual Meeting

Nov. 3-5- COBA Select Sires AI class at United Producers 6 pm. Call 614-878-5333 for more information or to register.

Nov. 9 -Pesticide Testing at the Old Y Restaurant at noon.