Pulse School: Why you should test your soil temperature

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There’s a good chance you don’t test your soil temperature as much as you should. Crop extension specialist with Saskatchewan Agriculture, Cory Jacob says most farmers will test their soil here and there, but could benefit if they make it a habit.

In this episode of the Pulse School, Jacob goes over why knowing your soil temps will help with the process of germination and growth overall.

“Basically, crops germinate at certain temperatures,” he says. “If you’re seeding too early and it’s cold, the seed is just going to sit in the ground and not do anything, and we could be stressing the crop more than we need to.”

According to the Saskatchewan Agricultures website, peas and lentils are quite cold tolerant and can be planted when the average soil at the depth of seeding reaches 5°C. Desi chickpeas can also start to germinate at about 5°C; however, large kabuli chickpea, dry bean, and soybean do not germinate and emerge well at these cool temperatures. Those three in general should not be planted until the average soil temperature at the depth of seeding reaches 10°C.

Jacob says it’s best to take your soil temperature once in morning and then another reading later on in the day. By taking the average from the two readings, it helps give a good idea as to what the reading is on average. He also recommends to keep a log for years down the road to compare results.

Listen to RealAgriculture’s Jessika Guse and Saskatchewan Agriculture’s Cory Jacob as the pair discuss the importance of testing soil temperatures.

For more Pulse School episodes click here.

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