Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Fall Tillage

Fall tillage is one of the best ways to be kind to your soil. If you can incorporate crop residue in the fall the break down process will begin and by spring the soil will be ready for the next crop. I like to leave as much residue on top of the soil as possible while creating as much contact with the soil as possible. It is the contact with the soil microrganisms that causes the break down.

Fall tillage also gives the soil the ability to recover from a minor amount of compaction through multiple freeze and thaw cycles. This restores the soil tilth and crumb structure. The heavier the soil the more beneficial the freeze and thaw action.

That is why the farmers of old did their plowing in the fall, the only problem with plowing is the residue is turned under and a plow pan maybe created. Also bare soil can be affected by wind errosion.

The rototillers leave some residue on the surface and mix the soil well. I like that better. It is OK to go not till as well. The tiller can make a great seed bed once things settle down in the spring.

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