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Farmers Will Have To Navigate Tricky Soil Conditions

It's going to be a real challenge for farmers to get back onto the field this fall.
That according to Marla Riekman, a soil management specialist with Manitoba Agriculture.
"The one thing that people do need to think about is if they're getting back on the field, after that drainage is happening then we get to a point which we refer to as 'field capacity'," she said. "All of the small pores in the soil are filled with water but the big ones have drained out and are filled with air and that actually puts the soil at pretty high risk for compaction. In those cases it's really thinking about trying to minimize or even not have any field activity just to allow things to drain out a little bit but also thinking about the fact that if it's that wet, compaction risks can be very high."
She notes more water in the soil can actually help reduce compaction, although the problem with that is that it will cause ruts which will need to get cleaned up.
Riekman says many farmers have been switching over to tracks on their equipment which will help to decrease slippage. She adds lowering tire pressure is one way to decrease pressure on the soil and reduce compaction.
Fall tillage is going to be another tricky issue.
"We're getting pretty late where people are going to be struggling I think in terms of whether or not fall tillage can even happen, even after that crop is taken off," commented Riekman. "I'm a little nervous about what things will look like and whether or not we'll be able to get some effective fall tillage. I think that in cases where we're a little worried about whether or not that tillage will even happen, you might want to think really well about how we're going to manage whatever residue is on the field."
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