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With many farmers worried that the first dry spell this coming spring might be the last, there may be a temptation to get out on the land before it's really dry enough. OMAF soil and crop specialist, Mark Janiec, warns that this will have short and long term bad effects on the soil through compaction.

Under these conditions, Mouldboard plows compact the area below the furrow, especially if the rear tractor wheel runs in the furrow. Chisel plows won't work well in wet soil either. Smearing and ribboning occurs--especially as the clay content increases and the soil between the shanks will not shatter and crack the way it's supposed to.

It's been said many times before, but a reminder at this time of the year may help to rein in some enthusiasts.

Copyright 1993 Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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