Every time you set foot in your fields, you compact the soil. Imagine the compaction your fully loaded combine caused as it crisscrossed a too-wet field last fall. Keep in mind the threat soil compaction poses to yields and know how to combat it.
Nearly every field operation causes soil compaction. Rainfall causes surface compaction (crusting). Over time, its cumulative effect is perhaps the most yield-limiting factor in crop production. University of Wisconsin researchers say soil compaction can reduce yields by as much as 50 percent. It does so by:
- Reducing water availability
- Limiting nutrient uptake, especially nitrogen and potassium
- Inhibiting plant growth — including root penetration — and yield
- Delaying planting and other field operations because of wetter, colder soils
Improving soil compaction across your fields requires an integrated approach that includes preventive and restorative practices. Case IH can help with both.
Many steps can help prevent — or at least slow — soil compaction. Among the most recommended preventive practices is controlling traffic. During a growing season, up to 90 percent of a field can be tracked by equipment. Managing wheel traffic with the Case IH Advanced Farming System (AFS) can pinpoint traffic to as few paths as possible, from tillage to planting to spray applications to harvest.
You also can manage wheel traffic by reducing the number of wheels. Industry-leading track technology from Case IH, including the Steiger® Quadtrac®, Steiger Rowtrac™, Magnum™ Rowtrac™ and Axial-Flow® tracked combines, deliver exceptional performance in independent-track technology.
When it comes to breaking through compaction, turn to our innovative Ecolo-Tiger 875 with Tiger Points. The Ecolo-Tiger 875 efficiently sizes and mixes tough, heavy residue, while leveling the soil for a smooth seedbed. Thanks to the Case IH agronomic design of Tiger Points, the 23-degree, downward-, rearward- and outward-swept wings do more than just cut into the compaction layer. They:
- Lift. The tip starts the fracturing by lifting the compacted soil.
- Twist. The front area of the wing starts the twisting action, which relocates soil layers and prevents immediate recompaction.
- Roll. The back of the wings and the shank finish the job by rolling the soil to incorporate fertilizer and residue.
With Tiger Points, the turbulent lifting-and-twisting action below the soil surface aggressively fractures compaction for maximum air and water penetration and minimal runoff.
If you’re looking for lower surface disturbance yet still remove compaction, the Ecolo-Til 2500 In-Line ripper is your ticket. The 8-in winged No-Till Points effectively fracture the compaction layer while keeping surface disturbance to a minimum. To further reduce the surface disturbance and make the field look like it wasn’t touched from the surface, add Berm-Tuck’rs™ to reduce the blowout.
Soil compaction deserves your attention. If you are seeing it in your fields, take steps to reverse the trend. Breaking through compaction requires time, commitment and patience. Now is the time to get started. Visit your local Case IH dealer to learn more.