Recently added item(s)
You have no items in your shopping cart.
Personalize your experience with Penn State Extension. Subscribe today!
Save For Later Print
After a long winter most of us suffer from cabin fever and we want to get out and busy! This is especially the case for farmers and custom operators. The pressure is on with a short time window to do field work before planting season begins. However, soil moisture conditions may be suboptimal for field work and the danger of causing soil compaction is very high right now. The effects of soil compaction caused now may haunt us the rest of the season, and even in years to come. Research has shown that surface soil compaction effects can linger for up to five years, and subsoil compaction effects can last for 10 years or more. The 'ball test' is an easy way to figure out if soil is too wet to get into the field: grab a handful of soil, mold it in your hand - if it sticks together as a ball, the soil is too wet for field operations. Don't only take soil from the surface - also take some soil from a foot deep or so. It may be impractical to wait until all of the field is fit, but at least check that 80-90% of the field is ready before starting field work. Some other practices that can help mitigate the effects of field traffic include:
Thank you for your submission!