Tom Fry, sales manager of premium products at The Mosaic Company, says now is the time to make your nitrogen management plan, “The decision is a function of multiple factors – cropping systems, typical fall versus spring soil conditions, the market and logistics.” Applying nitrogen in fall can be a risky endeavor, especially in areas with increased rainfall or snowmelt like the Midwest, “You stand to lose nitrogen by volatilization, leaching or denitrification.” The Mosaic Company encourages farmers and retailers to soil test to get a good reading on P and K, and notes, “…mobile nutrients like nitrogen and sulfur aren’t as accurate in the standard zero to six soil test.” Fry suggests using a two-foot in-season nitrogen test to accurately assess the N available in the soil. Read the full article!
The data doesn’t lie; water infiltration times greatly increase with conventional tillage. Cover crops combined with no-till (or just cover crops) can decrease infiltration times, and build soil structure and health. We know you’ve heard this many times before, but check out the chart below from Corn and Soybean Digest to visualize the effects of conventional tillage. Read the full article.
Consider the following consequences of soil compaction before entering marginal fields with heavy equipment: (1) decreased water infiltration and (2) lack of pore space for roots to adequately establish in the coming seasons. If you cannot avoid the wet fields, like many farmers in Ohio who have experienced recent heavy rains and cannot wait for fields to dry completely, read Ohio’s Country Journal article for tips on how to minimize compaction.
Watch the USDA’s Science and Technology Training Library’s upcoming webinar on soil microbes December 12th at 2:00pm ET. Kate Scow, soil science and soil microbial ecology professor at UC-Davis, will be presenting on the role microbes play in nutrient cycling, increasing soil organic matter and improving soil structure. Introducing practices like cover crops, reduced tillage and composting assist in providing the right food and habitat where microbes can populate. Read more on the webinar here.