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Improve Fields By Adding Lime, Gypsum and Tile

Improve Fields By Adding Lime, Gypsum and Tile
Plenty of time left to improve fields before 2013.

Driving along the Indiana and Ohio border recently there was a field with both piles of soil amendments and rolls of big tile setting in the same field. Obviously, the field was going to be spread with either gypsum or lime, or both, then tiled, most likely in a pattern-tile drainage system. If weather permits, fall is a good time to install tile.

While this year may not have been to prove the need for tile, most know that wet years will return. If you can catch the soil while it's relatively dry it's still a good time to install tile without doing significant damage to the field.

Improve the field: Spreading gypsum and lime and installing tile should make this field more productive.

Lime is generally applied based on soil test recommendations. It's generally stockpiled in the field, then loaded onto a spreader truck or big-A type vehicles. Many were running over the past few days to get products applied to fields that needed them.

The interest in gypsum is increasing. Many farmers who try it say they see a benefit. It helps on water infiltration. However, if you're going to help draw more water into the soil, then you need to have a place for the water to go. That's why adding tile to fields where you're applying gypsum makes sense, notes Rodney Rulon, Arcadia, whose family held a field day on gypsum and soil health earlier this year. His family has their own tiling equipment, and have installed tile on their land for many years. They've begun applying gypsum over the last five years. Rulon sees it as a tool that fits in with cover crops and no-tilling to help improve soil health.

Agronomists say it's important to apply lime by soil test results. If the pH is low, there's a good chance of a quick response. However, if the soil test calls for large amounts of lime, say six tons per acre, it may be more prudent to split that into two applications a year apart, especially in no-till, agronomists conclude.

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