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Serving: IA
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COMPACTION CONCERN: As soil particles are compressed together, space is reduced in the soil for air and water, negatively affecting root and crop growth.

ISU meeting to address soil compaction’s long-term effects

Yields suffer as compaction slows water infiltration, crop emergence and root penetration.

Farmers wondering what this year’s wet spring will mean for the rest of the growing season and harvest can get insight at Iowa State University’s upcoming Ag Engineering & Agronomy Farm Field Day on Aug. 28 at ISU’s Research Farm near Boone.

This year’s event will feature topics related to the challenging 2019 growing season, with opportunities for visitors to see equipment in action and learn about ways to mitigate soil compaction.

The wet weather issue is much bigger than the events Iowans experienced this spring, says Meaghan Anderson, ISU Extension field agronomist. “We’ve been hounded with unfavorable weather issues, not just this spring, but also last fall and in some cases last spring as well. This has created questions for farmers, especially related to tillage systems and soil compaction.”

What does compaction do long term?

Farmers are often faced with the challenge of having to enter fields under less-than-ideal conditions, risking compaction and long-term damage to soil structure.

Mark Hanna, retired ag engineering specialist with ISU Extension, will discuss the different options for limiting compaction from farm equipment. His presentation will include demonstrations of equipment with different tire inflations, tracks and new technology.

The field day will include a welcome by Daniel Robison, new dean of ISU’s College of Agriculture. Robison officially began his position in January and is traveling the state to meet Iowans at ISU field days this summer.

Effects of wetter weather patterns

Dennis Todey, director of the USDA Midwest Climate Hub located at ISU campus in Ames, will give his presentation at the Aug. 28 field day. Todey will lead a discussion on the short-term weather outlook for harvest this fall and look at long-term weather trends Iowans are facing.

Register for the field day on-site at 8:30 a.m. The program runs from 9 a.m. to noon, with a free lunch. Attendees can receive 2.5 soil and water certified crop adviser (CCA) continuing education units for attending. ISU’s Ag Engineering & Agronomy Farm is located at 1308 U Ave. in Boone. For more information, visit research farm online or contact Anderson at 515-382-6551 or

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