Is Cold Soil a No-till Problem?
January 26, 2009
February 26, 2009
Many questions arise about the affect of standing stubble in direct-seeding. ie: crop performance; residue management goals; soil warming, etc.? This project report highlights what was found during an on-farm field trial to demonstrate low disturbance direct seeding (disc openers) into tall wheat stubble (flax) compared to short canola stubble (peas) in northeast Alberta. These two scenarios not only represent a significant degree of difference in stubble height and density, but also provide a variable range of retained surface mulch, crop type, and seeding dates - all important factors in determining what problems, if any, occur when stubble-knock down and soil disturbance are minimized by reducing tillage. We setup to find out if cold soil is an issue.
Data tracking with high-tech sensors was compiled for short and tall stubble from April 30 through June 23, 2008, in addition to the Mannville, AB. co-operator's benchmark soil temperature records collected during the seeding season with simple thermometer probes in four different stubble types. The results may appear surprising at first glance, however when considered along with the full cropping system (including the efficiencies gained with a combine stripper-header) the co-benefits are significant.
Regardless of stubble height and seeding dates, soil temperature does not appear to be a problem for this direct seeder!
Click the pdf to access the report.