Skip to main content

Competency Area 5: Soil conservation AEM

PO 55. Understand the relationship between soil consistency and tillage conditions; the "ball test", and the effects of soil freezing.

Soils with high clay content tend to have high consistency. They tend to be in a plastic state much of the year (as judged with the 'ball test' described in CA 1, PO 3) which makes tillage operations challenging. One strategy to address this is to do primary tillage on these soils in the fall, let the freezing-thawing action crumble the clods, and then to do secondary tillage in the spring to prepare a seedbed. This is a way to avoid cloddy seedbeds in the early spring. Fall tillage, however, may lead to increased erosion potential.