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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Raper, Randy
item Schwab, Eric

Submitted to: Applied Engineering in Agriculture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/13/2009
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Compacted soils cause many producers particularly in the Southeastern U.S. to use annual deep tillage. However, this deep tillage may in fact cause some soil compaction by smearing the soil. The sliding process of moving the metal plow through a moist soil can leave a smeared soil surface which may prevent roots from growing into the loosened soil. A device was tested that could be easily attached to a deep tillage plow that would reduce the amount of soil smearing caused by the tillage process. Results were promising with increased cotton yields resulting from the use of the attachment in silty clay soils. Further refinements in the design could enable Southern row-crop agriculture to be even more productive!

Technical Abstract: Hardpans are prevalent throughout the Southeastern United States and frequently cause the depth of crop rooting to be restricted to near the soil surface thus making crops susceptible to short-term droughts. In-row subsoiling has become the tillage tool of choice for alleviation of this compacted soil condition in Coastal Plain soils. However, in many soils with larger amounts of clay, smearing occurs near the bottom of the shank, thus trapping the roots in the subsoiled channel. A novel approach to disturb the bottom of the smeared zone was attempted. Results of multiple experiments involving corn and cotton in multiple soil types indicate that the use of a shank attachment can increase crop yields in fine-textured soils where soil smearing is sometimes noted.

Last Modified: 05/25/2017
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