A Riley County Soil Health Workshop will be held on Thursday, March 8, at Pottorf Hall, CiCo Park in Manhattan, Kansas. The workshop will begin at 9:00 a.m. and conclude at 2:00 p.m. The workshop is hosted by K-State Research and Extension and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. The workshop will discuss and highlight recent cover crop research and how cover crops relate to soil health.
Topics and speakers include:
- Using cover crops as a tool for weed control, Anita Dille – Weed Ecology
- Cover crops and the nitrogen cycle in the rotation, Peter Tomlinson – Environmental Quality
- Sorghum response to cover crops in no-till systems, Kraig Roozeboom, Crop Production
- Protecting surface water with healthy soils, cover crops, and fertilizer management, Nathan Nelson, Soil Fertility and Nutrient Management
- Building better soils with cover crops, DeAnn Presley – Soil Management
- Cover crops in a soybean production system, Doug Shoup – Southeast Area Crops and Soils
- Covers for use by cattle, Jaymelynn Farney – Southeast Area Beef Systems
Registration for the workshop is free and lunch will be provided. Participants are asked to register by Monday, March 5. Contact the Riley County Conservation District to reserve your spot by calling 785-537-8764 or at Aubrey.firstname.lastname@example.org
The event is limited to 200 people, so don’t wait too long to register!
My experience with Harvey County lawns and gardens is that for the most part our soil is clay dominated and low in organic matter. Organic matter is needed in soil to increase soil drainage, make soil friable, create a better root growing zone for plants and provide some nutrients for plant growth. Organic materials can be applied directly to garden soil and incorporated with a plow or tiller, allowing decomposition to occur directly in the soil rather than in the compost pile. This time of year is an ideal time to do this when a variety of organic materials are available in the form of prunings, leaves, garden refuse, and lawn clippings. Continue reading “Adding Organic Matter to Garden Soil”
After harvest, many producers might head to the field for deep tillage such as ripping, or to make earthwork repairs around the farm. A few days before you want to start these activities, it’s worth a call to 811 for your safety and to prevent expensive damage to underground utilities. The website http://call811.com has easy-to-follow instructions for requesting this free service and detailed information concerning why you need to know what’s below.
Sadly, fatal accidents do happen in soil excavations. If you dig any trenches or soil pits, safety should be considered from the very beginning of the project. Soils with sandy textures are more susceptible to a collapse than soils with a higher clay content. If standing water is present in the pit, the walls are more apt to collapse.
There are Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines on excavation safety, such as when it is necessary to shore the walls of a soil pit or trench. One important consideration is soil should be piled a minimum of 2 feet away from the walls of the trenches for two reasons:
- Soil clods or excavating tools could roll back into the trench and cause injury to occupants.
- Reduces the risk of a trench collapse by keeping the weight of the soil piles away from the trench edges.
Even if a soil pit is 4 feet deep or less, it is a good idea to angle the edges of the soil pit. This does create more disturbance, but if it prevents an accident, it’s worth it.
For more information on trenching and excavation safety, see the following OSHA publication:“Trenching and Excavation Safety”, https://www.osha.gov/Publications/osha2226.pdf
Soil testing can be done in either spring or fall on hay fields and pasture. Given a choice, fall would be the preferred time because it allows more time for any needed lime applications to have an effect before the main growing season begins, and it gives the producer some flexibility for planning nutrient applications.
Soil sampling on a regular basis (every 3 – 4 years) can keep you from applying excessive and unnecessary amounts of fertilizer or manure, and can increase yields by revealing exactly which soil nutrients are too low for optimum productivity. By doing this practice properly, producers can save money and reduce the environmental impacts. Continue reading “Fall Pasture and Hay Field Soil Test”
Horticulturally speaking, much of Harvey County soil dominated by clay. I know there are exceptions but in my experience with lawns here the clay content is very high. Right now is the optimum time to power rake or core-aerate our cool season lawns like tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass lawns. Continue reading “Harvey County Soil”
Conducting field work includes planting, tillage, or traffic in general. After wet weather, it can cause soil compaction, and in particular sidewall compaction in the seed furrow. The worst cases of sidewall compaction are seen after a field has been planted when the soil was too wet, followed by a period of dry weather. Continue reading “Soil Compaction”