The Northern Plains experienced rain, ruts and other challenges this past crop season. Is there a silver lining to 2019? USDA Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory soil scientist Dr. Mark Liebig can’t think of a direct answer to that question. But, there are ways farmers can manage these problems ahead of the 2020 growing season. “If you’re still trying to harvest now, try to get it done while the frost is still deep. One things thaw, do your best to stay off wet soil,” says Liebig. A drop test can be helpful when wondering what classifies as wet. “Take a soil sample from the three to six inch depth, mold it into a ball and drop it. If it breaks apart you should be okay. If it stays in a clump it is too wet.” Liebig goes on to say keeping soil disturbance to a minimum will help keep residue upright. That will help facilitate drying, which is another reason for being patient. Liebig spoke at the Farming and Ranching for the Bottom Line conference in Bismarck. A livestream of the event is available here.
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