UNL CropWatch April 16, 2010: Tips to Reduce Sidewall Compaction

UNL CropWatch April 16, 2010: Tips to Reduce Sidewall Compaction

April 16, 2010

 

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Avoid Sidewall Compaction with Planter and Planting Adjustments

  • If possible, wait for drier soil conditions before planting. 
  • Reduce downpressure in wet conditions to avoid compaction. 
  • Plant corn at least 2 inches deep and fracture the sidewall while closing the seed-vee. 
  • Evaluate seed-to-soil contact at seeding depth. Resist the temptation to increase downpressure to close the seed-vee. 
  • Leave residue over the row to reduce the seed zone from drying out and the soil from shrinking. 
  • Build soil structure using no-till, manure or cover crops. Soil with good aggregation is less likely to smear or compact. 
  • Level the planter front-to-rear, or even operate it slightly tail down, to improve seed-to-soil contact and closing the seed-vee. 
  • Use an attachment to till and loosen some soil for closing the seed-vee. 
  • Till in the sidewall with spoked closing wheels (need seed firmers for seed-to-soil contact). 
  • Use one spoked closing wheel and one standard wheel to close the seed-vee and firm the soil. 
  • If possible, stagger the angled closing wheels, one in front of the other, to reduce the seed-vee from opening back up as the soil dries. (If using one spoked wheel, place it in front.)

Paul Jasa
Extension Engineer