Impact Of Cropping Systems

Impact Of Cropping Systems

Sunflowers, tillage radishes offer effective ways to bust up soil compaction.

See the impact of no-till and tillage on soil aggregate stability and listen to discussion about cover crops, such as tillage radish, that breaks up soil compaction.

Our November Web Exclusive video from the Tires, Traction and Compaction Field Day held near Fergus Falls in early September features soil scientist Hal Weiser, North Dakota Natural Resources Conservation Service, as he talks about cropping systems and compaction.

Weiser gives his talk, standing in a field pit dug into Wolverton soil in northwestern Minnesota. Using several soil samples from different fields, he demonstrates the impact of tillage on soil structure and stability.

To bust up compaction, a major concern for many crop farmers, he discusses using cover crops as an alternative tool to steel. He talks about adding sunflowers or the tillage radish to crop rotations. The tubers of tillage radishes grow to about 18 to 20 inches long while their root systems can go as deep as four-and-a-half feet. Some farmers who grew tillage radishes to bust up compaction report that corn sown in those fields the following year have deeper root systems since they followed the channels of the decomposed radish roots.

Weiser suggests planting tillage radishes right after harvesting spring wheat, or if you are able, letting it grow as a full-season crop.

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