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Using Your Tractor & Crop Talk

Discussion Board - Re: Question on discing crops under.

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Author  [Modern View]

07-24-2012 07:20:09

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Hey gary, a little more info for you.the idea behind this goes something like this. Basicaly what your doing is composting accross your whole field. What happens is the normal bacteria in your soil,and the crops themselves start breaking it down,or rotting it away if you will. This proccess actualy LOCKS UP nitrogen initialy. And thats why I say you may want to chop it first with your mower,simply put this exposes more surface area of your stalks to these bacteria so it rots faster because they multiply at a huge rate. A couple of things are working against you though (especialy this year). These bacteria ,just like all others need certain things to live. They need air,water, food,and warmth. Your stalks are the food,this year we certainly have warmth,and if you dont bury them to deep tilling the soil adds air, but water is a big factor now. With low water such as in this drought they simply dont multiply near as fast,so nitrogen stays locked up longer simply because theres not so many bacteria working. Now,once they eat all your food,they start to die,simply put they starve. THIS is what adds the nitrogen to the soil! Even though you cant see them theres billions apon billions of them and their decomposing bodies add nitrogen to the soil. Just like a fish around your corn plant roots,or you chemical fertilizer. So theres a period where this actually lessens nitrogen in the soil,followed by a period of plenty. In this dry weather we are having its liable to take a long time for your crop to completly break down,so i would recommend doing it as early as possible,to avoid starving your next crop of nitrogen. This is of why lots of folks see a drop in production when they switch from conventional till to no till at first,it simply takes time for these bacteria to build up in the soil to the point to where the process is more or less continual. no till simply puts the layer where these bacteria work at the soils surface,there they get all they need naturaly,but it dries out and it can get too hot so activity slows. Minimum till puts this area slightly deeper,same process same result but deeper in the soil. Full till does the exact same thing also,but there again your putting you food(stalks) down in an area where air becomes a limiting factor so again you slow down the process. All use the same idea,all have their uses,all have their pros and cons. but the proccesses remain the same. the same principal would apply lots of times to dry or liquid fertilizers one is simply faster. All that being said, what or when you intend to replant would maybe be your best guide.If your going to go back in shortly with say soybeans,leave the stalks on the surface.this would make the bacteria work right at the surface, would give you a boost the beans need to sprout and get established,but wouldnt set them back from too much nitrogen at the roots. If your planting say wheat,that can use that nitrogen ,disc them in .this puts it at the roots basicaly where wheat needs it.IF you plan to try to HOLD this nitrogen till next spring ,PLOW it under.this cuts down on losing it naturaly to the atmosphere but also slows it down so it will be more readily available in the spring. Its all a proccess,its going to happen, you can use it or it can mess you up and set you back. hope this helps,,

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