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How to improve Soil tilth, soillife, ed winkle and other smart guys
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Posted 11/17/2011 20:44 (#2054973)
Subject: How to improve Soil tilth, soillife, ed winkle and other smart guys

frederick, MD

I know, cover crops, no till, manure.  But it just does not work.  The only sure fire way I know of to improve soil tilth is to plant grass.  I have fields that were pastures over 30 years ago and they out yield everything, no matter how you fertilize, till or plant.

My father tells me of how he rent fields years ago that were pasture and he began farming them,  he said they where very low in P and K and but it was his best crop.  So I get it, its all about the soil, but how do we turn it around. 

I treat my soil like gold.  I plant cover crops such as rye, wheat, triticale,  Sometimes it seems these cover actually hurt my corn yield.  But I have found that if I kill them early in the spring they wont hurt my corn.  But if I do this I am not getting the full benefit from them, am I?

I don't till my ground much, pretty much no till all the way, although the last couple years I got fed up and ripped about 120 acres, had to disc 2 times and roller harrowed it 1 times to ever get it close to being fit to plant to wheat.  It was still pretty cloddy but I didn't want to beat the dirt anymore.  Of course some rain would have help, but we never got it

Been running a turbo till a little too, just to help Warm up in the spring.  I don't like tillage, but I am getting so discouraged I am thinking about going back to full blown tillage, old school like my dad did. 

I think one of the biggest problems I have is soil compaction.  Chopping corn silage and hauling manure with those big tanks sure packs the ground down a lot.

If I could just figure out how to improve soil tilth, organic matter.   Around here, most organic matters are 1 percent or less.  The fields that are 2 percent are great, they resist compaction, and the crops have less disease and insect problems.  Plus they are a dream to plant.  If it is dry the planter goes in the ground.  If it is wet you don't get a lot of sidewall planter compaction.

So please, someone tell me, Short of Plant grass hay on all my farm land


I have even spread about 50 tons to the acre of strawy manure, to no avail.  In one year its gone. 

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