The amount of snow we received and potential spring rain events can be challenging to an early start to the growing season. Approaching field operations for N applications, tillage, weed control, etc. need to be weighed against potential soil compaction and successful seed germination. Two of the greatest concerns during spring is excess soil moisture and cold soil temperature and their impacts on seed germination, especially in areas with poorly drained soils as in northern and central Iowa. Areas with poorly drained soils can be managed with less tillage to ensure suitable soil conditions for plant growth. Tillage systems that manage residue and help warm the top two inches of the soil for seed placement to ensure successful seed germination may be considered. The most suitable system to achieve this is Strip-Tillage, where narrow-width tilled strips, traditionally created in the fall, can increase early spring soil evaporation and soil temperature in the top two inches. This is particularly effective in poorly drained wet soils, where slightly raised soil strips are created by normally available farm equipment such as anhydrous knives, disks, coulters, tool bars, or manure injection equipment.
Iowa State University
Al-Kaisi, Mahdi, "Managing Wet and Cold Soils" (2019). Integrated Crop Management News. 2509.
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