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3 years ago

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I am plowing under a hay field this fall to plant corn in the spring. I am plowing across the slope since I am concerned about erosion. My question to folks is: should I be discing this ground or leaving that until spring. This is all sod so it is pretty rough, I think a light discing would settle it a bit but still leave a lot of roughness to the ground to catch the rain water.
Thank you

Klaus Karbaumer says 2015-11-17 12:10:23 (CST)

Billy, I always try to disk before I plow( except if there isn't enough time) which makes for better tillage and helps prevent air pockets, but I wouldn't disk after plowing in fall exactly because of erosion control like you wrote. Winter weather will take care of the rough spots till spring.

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Dris Abraham says 2015-11-17 12:25:21 (CST)

I would not plow in the fall if there is any chance for erosion.

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

KM says 2015-11-17 15:07:21 (CST)

It is always interesting to me how different parts of the country farm. Because our spring is always late we like to fall plow on the contour. That allows a light disking and plant. The freeze thaw also helps break down the soil. We do have snow from about now until about the first of April so winter erosion isn't too big of issue.

Moisture is also a concern. Our rocks are hard plowing unless wet. Takes a pile of water to soften them.

The big exception to that is the feed ground. This is either hay to be torn out or an oat field that we will feed cattle on. If we start on one side of the field and feed on new snow every day we will work our way across the field. By the time we have moved across the field 10 or so feet at a time we can start over on new snow. In the spring we plow and plant to oats or barley. Saves hauling manure and accomplishes the same thing.

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Klaus Karbaumer says 2015-11-17 18:02:56 (CST)

Kari, you are exactly right. I find the different approaches interesting ,too. One of the reasons why I plow in fall is that with the winter freezes and thaws one gets some really nice soil early in spring and then light disking or even just harrowing will do to get very early crops in the ground. If I had to plow most of my fields in spring and winter is late or very wet, that would throw me back a few weeks. For growing vegetables timing is everything, not only to be on the market with early greens, but also because some crops need v cool soil to germinate properly and when the ground isn't prepared at the right time with a rapid warming in spring one has missed a chance. But Dris raises an important point and that is erosion. If my soil washes away all my planting skills are for naught. Therefore I leave grass strips and also mulch some erosion prone spots even in winter. I can always remove that mulch if it's in the way later.

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Billy Foster says 2015-11-18 06:27:57 (CST)

Thank you for the feedback guys. Last year I really struggled with the sod during planting when I had waited to plow until the spring. Some of these fields are pretty old and the sod is pretty deep. It warms up fairly late here so I am trying fall plowing in a couple fields to see if it gives me a little more time during the rush of spring. Like most folks I am concerned with conserving our soil so I will keep a close eye on it.
Thanks again

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Carl says 2015-11-19 07:32:08 (CST)

Billy, the other responses have somewhat bounced around your
question. Just leave the ground alone after you have plowed it
and do nothing further. It will work up nicely next spring.

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

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