Cool it: too-warm soil means certain fall field work needs to wait


With soil not yet cool enough to fully slow microbial activity, Jeremy Boychyn says certain fall field work tasks may have to wait a few weeks yet.

Soil testing and some fall field applications of herbicides and fertilizer should likely wait, says the agronomy research extension specialist with the Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions, as he’s seen recorded temps as high as 12 degrees C a full 20 centimetres below ground.

At those temps, Boychyn explains, even in dry to very dry soil moisture conditions, soil microbes are still active and will be continuing to cycle crop nutrients, most notably nitrogen. There’s also the chance that fall-applied herbicides intended to activate in the spring, may activate now.

Boychyn adds now is a great time to walk fields and scout for wheat stem sawfly and estimate damage, informing variety choice for next year.

Listen below to the full report from Boychyn, as featured on the October 17 episode of RealAg Radio:

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