From the Ground Up

Inspiring views on the evolution of soil and agriculture.

Fall Residue Management for Successful Spring Seeding

Carrier XL 625

As harvest season quickly approaches (or in some areas, continues), it is difficult to think about seeding in 2018 when the 2017 crop is still out in the field.  In many areas of the prairies, a successfully planted crop in the spring depends on proper crop residue management the previous fall.  Management of harvested crop residue is important in all types of cropping systems, but is especially crucial in direct (no-till) seeding.  Excessive residue levels can result in delayed/uneven emergence, toolbars plugged with straw, uneven maturity and thin crop stands among other effects.  In contrast, good residue management has many benefits to soil including reduced wind/water erosion, microclimate for emerging seedlings that allows for greater fertilizer efficiency and improved water infiltration.

There are many ways in which growers can manage fall crop residue with harvest time being the earliest.  It is important during combining to ensure that straw is spread to …