Question: I have ruts on top of ruts to deal with in some of my fields. The first ones are from the 2009 harvest. Then I had more after I sidedressed and sprayed corn this past spring. What would you recommend?
Answer:This is the first year I’ve seen wheel track compaction from a sidedress bar that was severe enough to stunt corn. If you’re rotating to soybeans, that compaction might not have to come out, but if it’s a dry fall and you have time, take the opportunity to fix it. You probably will need to do tillage to fix the more serious problems. Your tillage tool has to reach beneath the deepest compaction. And you must cut those wheel tracks at an angle, so till across the tracks. A couple of other things I’m recommending to farmers this fall: If you have severe wheel tracks in soybean residue, you may need to rip with an in-line ripper in two directions or use an in-line ripper followed by a chisel plow. If you’re growing continuous corn, you’ll probably need to run a disk ripper deep enough to fix the compaction and also bury any residue. If you don’t have a disk ripper, make two passes—one with an in-line ripper to remove the wheel tracks and one with a disk chisel, shallowly in the opposite direction, to bury residue. More information on how to manage ruts is available at the following link.
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