I have soybeans dieing on my clay ground we dug them up and found compaction...

Asked August 14, 2014, 2:49 PM EDT

I have soybeans dieing on my clay ground we dug them up and found compaction at 2 to 3 in with roots going sideways. We turbo tilled the cornstalks last fall very heavy residue with over 200 bu corn. Beans were planted 4/25 in very nice seed bed, but had 4 in rain Mother's Day weekend.I have not had compaction issues before and can't figure out why I do now.

Madison County Ohio

3 Responses

The observation of soybeans dead or dying in compacted areas is a combination factors including but not limited to the following: reduced air and water for roots, reduced nutrient uptake, infection of roots by fungi, and reduced vigor in general. Soils in (mostly silt/loams) Madison county Ohio are easily compacted and vertical tillage will not relieve compaction problems and can actually result in exactly the shallow compaction observed. Compaction occurs when soils are worked or driven on when too wet. This is a very difficult problem that is pervasive across Ohio. There is not a single solution to the problem, but rather a number of potential practices to reduce the problem including: deep tillage, cover crops, controlled traffic ( as best as you are able ), and residue management.

I am aware of the factors that cause compaction, but the fall turbotill and spring seeding was ideal soil conditions. Leaves me at a loss as to why the compaction occurred. Thanks

In 2012 ( the drought year) the compaction you describe was very evident after vertical tillage (turbo till) were used. And, without debate, very heavy rainfall will compact ground ( 4 inches you describe). Soil compaction occurs when soil structure is lost/destroyed. Any tillage will change soil structure. Thus, between turbo tillage and heavy rainfall events in my view soil compaction is possible. But, disease or insects or water damage (low O2) may also be injuring soybeans. When soybeans are in a stressed state, pathogen infections may be more likely.