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Catching Corn On The Go Vs. Soil Compaction

TAGS: Extension
Catching Corn On The Go Vs. Soil Compaction
There are ways to minimize potential soil compaction.

Catching corn from the combine on the go so the combine can keep operating is standard practice on many farms, likely your farm. Depending on the length of the field, you can make it at least half way across the field while the combine is unloading into the cart at the same time, increasing efficiency and boosting number of acres you can cover in a day.

Common sight- Picking up the combine with a grain cart keeps the combine moving. Gary Steinhardt says you need to be aware of how much soil compaction the cart might create.

The possible drawback is increased compaction created by the grain cart. Gary Steinhardt, a Purdue University Extension soil specialist, says large loads can create compaction, especially if soil conditions are right. However, he says the effects of soil compaction are hard to prove, and almost impossible to prove in scientific tests. Part of it depends on the next growing season. Wet seasons tend to mask soil compaction, although it could show up the next year if it was severe enough. It doesn’t go away quickly, Steinhardt notes. Soybeans tend to be less affected by soil compaction than corn.

There are ways to still catch on the go and limit the potential for crating soil compaction. Here are a few ideas.

•Empty the cart into the semi at the end of the field after picking up the combine instead of waiting until its full and you have more weight to haul across the field in the grain cart

•Change plans if you can still shell corn, but soils are wet enough that compaction form big loads is possible. Perhaps you keep the grain cart on the end in those situations.

•Review what type of tires you have on your grain cart. Several tire companies are bringing out IF and VF tires with more flex that are designed to run at lower air pressure. Companies claim you can cut soil compaction potential in half. There is still more potential than running the cart on tracks, however.  •These new tires tend to be expensive.

•Keep the semi out of the field, especially when loaded.
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