As we close out one growing season and prepare to get back in the fields for another, what strategies do you have in place to reduce soil compaction and its yield dragging impact? Considering that today’s tractors, combines, and field equipment are only getting bigger, it’s vital to understand the impact that soil compaction has on your soil, crop health, yields, and bottom line profits. With margins tight and maximizing profits essential, there has never been a better time to give this important issue serious consideration.
Soil compaction is magnified through many of the routine field operations that are often performed under less than ideal conditions when soils are wet and more susceptible to compaction. The use of heavy equipment and tillage implements can cause lasting damage to the soil structure as the surface of compacted soil is much more likely to seal off – simply meaning air and water have a harder time moving down through the soil. As compaction builds, water accumulates on the surface and moves downhill creating a greater potential for soil erosion and water runoff, carrying eroded topsoil, applied fertilizers, and pesticides along with it.
Soil compaction causes multiple issues throughout the growing season from planting to harvesting. For a seed, compaction causes greater stress on the seedling during germination and root expansion because it has to work much harder to develop and spread throughout the soil. A critical aspect of the consequences of compaction is air and water do not have the ability to effectively travel throughout the soil resulting in more areas of standing water, poor drainage, and crop damage due to the seedlings and roots potentially suffocating.
Here’s a list of how compaction can impact your soil and crop production…
- Causes soil pore spaces to become smaller and more compressed.
- Reduces airflow in the soil, restricting healthy plant respiration.
- Decreases the rate water can penetrate and percolate in the soil root zone and subsoil.
- Increases the potential for surface water ponding, water runoff, surface soil waterlogging, and soil erosion.
- Reduces the ability of any soil to hold water and air which are necessary for plant root growth and function.
- Reduces valuable biological activity in the soil.
- Restricts crop emergence as a result of increased soil crusting and deteriorating soil conditions.
- Significantly inhibits root growth, limiting root penetration, and the volume of soil explored by roots into the subsoil.
- Compaction restricts root development and exploration, decreasing the ability of all crops to utilize nutrients and water efficiently from soil.
- Compaction is a Yield Killer.
You will pay a price for soil compaction – all of these factors increase crop stress and lower yields resulting in loss of profits.
There is a simple way to cost-effectively reverse the effects of compaction… Respire® by AgriGro.
Respire® represents the next generation of technology in the fight against compaction and its yield-limiting impact. Respire® is an anionic, soil-amending surfactant that addresses a wide range of soil compaction problems common in today’s agriculture. Because the soil itself is chemically altered, results are longer lasting than those obtained via surface water surfactants. Benefits are visible after first watering or rainfall and will continue the entire growing season before additional applications are required.
Respire® works to offset compaction by improving soil structure, drainage, and tilth to maximize yields and support overall soil and plant health. For conventional tillage or no-till applications, Respire® helps support a healthy growing environment so your crops can reach their genetic yield potential.
Good soil structure is the number one defense the soil has against compaction and it determines the ability of any soil to hold and conduct water, nutrients, and the air necessary for maximum root growth and plant development. Respire® is the perfect compliment to AgriGro’s line of prebiotic products like IgniteS2® and FoliarBlend® and can be used in combination to maximize the soil’s microbiome to reduce compaction and improve crop production. When these products are used together they have a greater impact on soil health and crop production with Respire® affecting the physical and chemical properties of the soil while IgniteS2® and FoliarBlend® enhance the biological life of the soil to help naturally fight compaction and improve overall soil and plant health and crop yield.
For more information on Respire®, click on the link below and get started today.