After harvest is a great time to get out and scout soil conditions and start planning soil management passes for the fall and spring. One of the tillage questions that often comes up at field days is depth settings on implements, like a soil ripper. The answer to how deep you need to go is dependent on how deep the density layers sit.
There are simple tools for gauging soil density layers in the soil profile — a basic probe is cost effective, portable and easy to use. But if you really want to get an accurate look at compaction within the soil profile, the depths it occurs at and the relative composition of the soil at depth, you need to dig.
The soil pit — and it doesn’t need to be huge — will take a bit of work, as you’ll want to dig down below where the probe suggested you’d find a density layer. In this video of the In the Dirt series, Jim Boak and Mark Van Veen, of Salford, share the workload, and, once it’s dug, walk us through how to verify density in the soil profile.
As Boak also says in the video below, why is it so important to know with certainty where the compaction layers are? This information is vital to implement settings, as you want to get down below the compaction layer, but it also means an accurate setting which will save on fuel, time and minimize soil layer mixing by only going as deep as you need to.
If you cannot see the embedded video, click here.