| Soybeans | Forages
| Cereals | Dry
Edible Beans |
The goal of tillage is threefold:
Forage seed is very small, making good seed-to-soil contact essential for germination, particularly in dry conditions. A loose, lumpy seedbed dries out quickly, and lumps make the emergence of young seedlings difficult. Soil should be firm enough at planting for a footprint to sink no deeper than 9 mm (3/8 in.). Packing before seeding can help, especially on sandy loam soils, which often produce a "fluffy" seedbed. Pack as soon as possible after seeding to prevent excessive moisture loss. On clay loam soils, forage establishment is most reliable when the field has been fall plowed. Freezing and thawing action on these soils result in easier preparation of a fine seedbed the following spring.
Heavier soils plowed in the spring often require excessive tillage to produce a fine seedbed. If soils are worked too fine, a surface crust can occur after a heavy rainfall, reducing emergence, increasing erosion potential and decreasing water infiltration.
No-till seeding of forages has been quite successful where the soil conditions following the previous crop were smooth and level. Weed control and proper seed placement are important. Where surface residue is heavy, slug damage to forage seedlings is a risk.
Land susceptible to erosion will benefit from increased surface
residue. However, seeding equipment must be able to handle the increased
residue left by reduced tillage systems without compromising seed
placement and adequate seed-soil contact.
For more information:
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