Ground Compaction

Published on: 10:04AM Oct 29, 2009
I am a farmer in his late 50's.I grew up being told not to drive on the fields because it compacted it too much,yet no till promotes this, why? If you constantly drive over ground and not plow it to loosen it won't this ground get so hard over time that seeds will not be able to root deeply?

Stoney Acres Sheep Dairy, Competition,MO.

Al's Response:

Hi Rick,
You are correct! Driving tractors and machinery over the fields will compact the soil. That is exactly the reason no till works. Before no-till farmers would start by plowing the field, then disc, harrow, plant, cultivate (three or four times), then harvest. Total 6 to 8 times over the field. With two or four row equipment this was a lot of compaction. With larger equipment, like 8 row up, and only going over the field to plant, then harvest (two times) compaction is reduced. No need to cultivate with chemical weed control.

So that is my answer. Personally I haven't used a mole-board plow on my farm since 1988.