Some last minute reminders on spring tillage:

  1. Run Light.  Most tires on tractors pulling drawn tillage equipment should be able to get under 15 psi and therefore reduce soil compaction risks. Check tractor weight and tire specifications, and adjust inflation pressures accordingly.
  2. Run Level.  Ensure your tillage tool is running level. Check inflation pressures in implement tires and fore/aft levelling.
  3. Run Shallow.  Avoid the temptation to do spring tillage too deep. Maximum depth is affected by several factors (disk vs. cultivator, sweeps vs. shovels, soil moisture, etc.), but anything deeper than 3.5 inches puts you at risk of too much smearing and excessive drying. This generally means that deeper soil compaction from Fall 2014 should not get fixed this spring!
  4. Run Once.  If fields are reasonably level, try to accomplish spring tillage in one pass to preserve soil structure. This won’t work in some cases because fields need to be levelled, but keep the first pass a bit shallower if possible. In some situations, vertical tillage tools ran multiple times may leave too much consolidated soil under the tire tracks.
  5. Run Smooth.  Set harrows to leave fields as smooth as possible to aid planter uniformity. Make note this spring if your next equipment investment should be a better set of harrows!

Greg Stewart
Maizex Seeds Agronomy Lead