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  1. #1
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    Default Discing and Soil Compaction?

    I've read/heard that discing an area year after year will result in hardpan/soil compaction beneath the area the disc doesn't disturb.

    Is this true in all cases, or only in cases where the tractor is heavy enough to compact the soil beneath what the disc can disturb?

    I've got a ~7000# tractor between the FEL and loaded tires and use a heavy box frame disc. I also don't disc when the soil is wet, which to my understanding is when soil compaction is the greatest. Should I worry about compaction? Hopefully not because I don't have a lot of HP (~40 drawbar) to pull a chisel harrow that would cover the tractor's width.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Discing and Soil Compaction?

    Well farmers have been no-tilling crops for years on the same ground. I guess they don't worry too much about compaction. 7000 lb is not a heavy tractor.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Discing and Soil Compaction?

    Quote Originally Posted by boomer1025 View Post
    7000 lb is not a heavy tractor.
    I didn't think so and can't see compacting more than 3-4" of soil with it, which my disc would certainly break up.

    With regards to no-till, do they still not chisel plow on occasion every 4-5 years?

  4. #4
    Super Member bp fick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Discing and Soil Compaction?

    Roto-tilling is a bigger issue, in my experience. Still, I make heavy use of a walk behind roto-tiller. I also disc. I love it and it is a great tool.

    If you keep disking, tilling or even plowing at the same depth, year after year, the concern of hard pan at a specific level is real. In some soil types, this isn't a huge concern. For others? They rip it as often as necessary. The sub-soiler is also a wonderful tool. Properly used, it breaks the tension of that pan.

    But, compaction can also be the result of soil structure. Different soils compact differently, but for sure, without proper calcium, proper tilth, proper organic "rubbish" that provides passageways, moisture, gas exchange and keeping the soil from simply compacting into a block more akin to concrete. Hope that helps.
    BP


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  5. #5
    Gold Member
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    Default Re: Discing and Soil Compaction?

    There are several conditions to consider with soil compaction. From your post, you should not have a problem. Soil type, soil moisture, weight of equipment, tractor tread width, psi, type of tillage equipment, etc. all can impact soil compaction. There are many ag. university studies on it. In most conditions, high soil moisture and high psi of the tire footprint can do more damage to soil structure than other scenarios - again this is just in general. As long as you continue to do tillage when the soils are moderately dry, you should be OK. Most true hardpans (fragipan in soils tems) are around 24 to 36 inches in depth (at least in Ohio soils). Good luck farming.

  6. #6
    Advertiser sweettractors's Avatar
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    Default Re: Discing and Soil Compaction?

    Over time, you will compact your soil with a disc harrow. I learned by experience in my tobacco fields. To solve the problem, I would subsoil every year before moldboard plowing and then deep till with a re-breaker just before transplanting the crop. This increased production by about 25% per year. Ken Sweet
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Discing and Soil Compaction?

    Quote Originally Posted by 1GB View Post
    I didn't think so and can't see compacting more than 3-4" of soil with it, which my disc would certainly break up.

    With regards to no-till, do they still not chisel plow on occasion every 4-5 years?
    Some do and some don't. Most of the time they run a bush-hog over the corn stocks, then plant a cover crop. Burn it down in the spring and plant soy beans or put it back in corn.
    Some farmers are planting what's called tillage radishes early in the fall, which helps with breaking up the compacting & brings the nutrients back to the top 6 inches of the soil
    My opinion, the ground needs worked to some degree, with a disc or plow every so many years in the fall an a good cover crop planted.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Discing and Soil Compaction?

    Quote Originally Posted by boomer1025 View Post
    Some do and some don't. Most of the time they run a bush-hog over the corn stocks, then plant a cover crop. Burn it down in the spring and plant soy beans or put it back in corn.
    Some farmers are planting what's called tillage radishes early in the fall, which helps with breaking up the compacting & brings the nutrients back to the top 6 inches of the soil
    My opinion, the ground needs worked to some degree, with a disc or plow every so many years in the fall an a good cover crop planted.
    Disc's and moldboard plows are the two heaviest compactors of soil used by farmers. Yes they do pack stones back in or bury them so you don't have to pick them but they are the heaviest compactors to be used by farmers.

    Subsoiling and vertical tillage will increase yeilds!

  9. #9
    New Member
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    Default Re: Discing and Soil Compaction?

    I try not to plow or any other job at the same depth all the time. Due use a subsoiler every three to five years, depending on the soil I have in that field. Try to go down at least 20" with the subsoiler. Am sure different things work for different people.

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