11 September 1998

Tackle soil compaction

CHECK soil compaction by digging a small hole in next years maize fields now before subsoiling, MGA agronomist Simon Draper advised at the National Forage Maize Day at CEDAR, Reading, last week.

Maize growth suffers when soils are compacted, but subsoiling is often ineffective because machine legs are set too wide.

"Compaction from a plough pan may only be 10in deep. This can be seen by digging a shallow hole and felt by digging at sides of the hole with a small trowel," he said.

When the plough pan is only 25cm (10in) deep and goes down 7.5-10 cm (3-4in), working depth should be 30-35cm (12-14in). That working depth requires its legs to be 60cm (24in) apart, not 155cm (62in) as they are usually set, to take out the plough pan effectively. Alternatively, use a Shakerater which has closer legs, he said. &#42