The Roundup -

County Agent Update


Spring Road Safety

With spring in full swing (we hope) there are some things to keep in mind when traveling in more rural areas. Perhaps the most important thing, for those of you that run into farm equipment on the roads, slow down. On all farm equipment whether it’s a sprayer, water pickup or seeder, there will be a slow moving vehicle sign, which is the bright orange triangle. That sign shows that this vehicle/machine will only be going 25 mph or slower. Please be patient and take your time, moving equipment is a needed part of farming and could be quite dangerous. For you, your families and the farmers’ safety, slowing down and moving over is extremely important.

Strategic Tillage

Recently I came across an article from the Carrington Research Extension Center that was written by Jasper Teboh. The article was titled “Does strategic tillage help minimize the impact of phosphorus stratification on crop yields in no-till farming?” which I found to be quite interesting. This article mentions that some farmers wonder if strategic tillage (occasional tillage as in once every ten years), of their long-term no-till field to manage some undesirable impact is necessary. These undesirable impacts are such as stratification of Phosphorus (accumulation near soil surface), soil pH levels, weed prevalence and soil compaction. The nutrient stratification is due to placement and very low mobility in the soil, nutrients such as Phosphorus, Potassium or Zinc accumulate in the top 3-4 inches of the soil while doing long-term no-till. When the topsoil is very dry, stratification can lead to low Phosphorus uptake. But positive yield responses to the practice of one-time tillage strategy for long term no-till fields have been inconsistent. One question that this article brought up was; how would one-time tillage affect weed control? When we think of conventional tillage, we know that it buries the weeds below depths of emergence, but when you introduce tillage in a long-term no till plot that also breaks seed dormancy and can move buried viable weed seeds to the surface and give them the change to germinate. Something that farmers do every year is apply fertilizer, especially Phosphorus. Applying Phosphorus by broadcast is easier but the practice is a cause for stratification. Banding near the seed can reduce fixation and increase uptake early in the season. Deep banding oh Phosphorus reduces stratification near the soil surface. Of course to truly figure out how much Phosphorus or any fertilizer you should be adding to your fields, soil testing is extremely important. Of course with a predicted dry year, soil testing will be key in managing your costs. Like every year, farmers never want to be applying more fertilizers and spending more money than needed, sending in a sample to the NDSU Soil Lab is an easy and relatively quick process.


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