Top 10 reasons to avoid soil compaction

July 20, 2016 5:19 PM
Blog Post

This spring consisted of wet field conditions for many regions across Iowa during planting season. When soil moisture is at or exceeds field capacity, there is an increased potential for soil compaction, particularly at topsoil depths. Soil compaction at planting time can impact root growth and development for the rest of the growing season, and can be a serious problem for Iowa farmers. However, with proper field management, compaction can be minimized.

Here are the top 10 reason to avoid soil compaction: 
1. Causes nutrient deficiencies
2. Reduces crop productivity
3. Restricts root development
4. Reduces soil aeration
5. Decreases soil available water
6. Reduces infiltration rate
7. Increases bulk density
8. Increases sediment and nutrient losses
9. Increases surface runoff
10. Damages soil structure

Learn more at 2016 Farm Progress Show
Learn more about the effects of soil compaction on root growth and development and best management practices at the Iowa State University tent at the Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa Aug. 31-Sept. 1. The soil health table will have four demonstrations, one which will focus on soil compaction at three different bulk densities. Mahdi Al-Kaisi, professor and extension soil management specialist at Iowa State University, will be present to answer questions, provide resources and discuss soil health management practices.

New soil health publications available
Now available to purchase online at the Extension Store is the Iowa Soil Health Field Guide, which highlights the relationships between soil characteristics and provides information about soil health and its importance to sustainable agriculture systems; the Iowa Soil Health Assessment Card, for field assessment and evaluation of soil health indicators; and the Iowa Soil Health Management Manual, which provides information about soil functions and services that are essential for sustainable agriculture systems. These three publications are products of the collaborative efforts of Iowa State University and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Iowa.

Iowa Soil Health Field Guide

 Related articles:
 Defining Soil Health
 Protect Your Investment by Eliminating Tillage and Keeping Residue
 What is Soil Health and How Can We Improve It?