July 12, 2017 Kris Cherewyk
Conserving Moisture at Seeding Time
One defining characteristic of the Great Plains is the variability of weather conditions. While some areas are still recovering from excessive moisture dating back to last fall, a large part of the region has been dealing with substantial drought over the course of this spring and summer. Even with all the advancements in crop science and biotechnology, moisture is still the main limiting factor in producing a high-yielding, high quality crop. Obviously, producers cannot control if it rains or how much; what they can control is soil conservation practices that determine how much moisture the land retains. When soils are tilled, exposure to the air results in moisture loss due to evaporation; the more frequent the tillage, the greater the loss. The last thirty years have seen a widespread use of minimum tillage practices, especially in areas with typically less rainfall and lighter soils that are less able to retain moisture.
Since its inception, Seed Hawk has been an industry leader in minimum tillage seeding practices with its innovative opener design that reduces soil disturbance and subsequent moisture loss. Packer wheels that follow the seed and fertilizer knives help to compact the soil which compresses the seed bed and helps eliminate evaporation. The retained moisture assists the seed in early utilization of the precision-placed fertilizer which produces a quick, early maturing crop. Minimum tillage also aids in the buildup of soil organic matter which not only assists in moisture holding capacity but helps convert nutrients, through increased microbial activity, into plant-available forms the crops can use. There isn’t much we can do about the weather after the crop is in the ground but utilizing the right equipment gives the crop the best possible chance to survive whatever conditions lay ahead.