The Surprising Link Between Compaction and Nutrient Deficiencies

Concerned about soil compaction? You’re not alone. Soil structure and health is increasingly on farmers’ radars for very good reason —  the more researchers uncover about soil, the more links we have connecting soil quality to everything from crop yield, to nutrient run-off risks and erosion problems.

Big pit
Can you spot the plow pan?

The unfortunate thing about compaction, says Jodi DeJong-Hughes, is that fields are at highest risk at field capacity — about the time they’re drivable after rain. DeJong-Hughes, with the University of Minnesota’s extension team, spoke at CropSphere last week in Saskatoon, and shared real-world strategies for first how to avoid compaction, and then how to try and fix it after the fact.

Related: A quick and easy way to gauge soil health

In the interview below, DeJong-Hughes highlights the many faces of compaction, including nutrient deficiencies in crops due to stunted root growth, and runs through the ways to avoid it. She also discusses why deep ripping CAN be used to rectify compaction that has already occurred, but only under certain circumstances and settings. All that, below.

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One thought on “The Surprising Link Between Compaction and Nutrient Deficiencies

  1. I have heard that some chemicals stop the plants from absorbing minerals. Which chemicals do this the most?
    We need fungi in the soil to have the best microbiology in the soil. Which chemicals are the best to kill fungi?

    I grew up with the thinking, a black field, no weeds is good but resulted in no earth worms and lesser yields.
    Multi species sown in a cash crop and followed by multi-species planted after harvest to have it freeze sure is challenging the way my dad showed me. But having something growing late fall and early spring sure adds the humus for the microbes.

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