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Publication Date

1995

Keywords

Frozen ground; Tillage; Soil management

Abstract

Tillage during the winter is typically considered impossible, despite its desirability in some cases. Soil freezing results in net upward movement of water to the freezing zone which facilitates primary tillage or incorporation of amendments. these can be performed during a time window when the frost layer is sufficiently thin to be ripped and the underlying soil is tillable. We evaluated the feasibility of frost tillage and performed an agronomic comparison with spring-tilled soil. Soil conditions conductive to frost tillage occurred during three time windows in the 1991/1992 and two in the 1992/1993 winter at Ithaca, NY. Frost tillage resulted in a rough soil surface, even after thawing, thereby presumably facilitating water infiltration. Soil drying was improvised in the spring of 1992, but not in 1993 after a very wet period had caused soil settling. Residue cover was greater with frost tillage in 1993 compared to spring tillage. Yields were similar in both 1992 and 1993. Frost tillage may be an attractive management option to shift fall and spring field work (primary tillage or manure application/injection) to the winter. In addition, winter manure incorporation may reduce spring runoff losses.

First Page

37

Last Page

39

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