Impact of In-Season Sprayer Track Ruts on Corn Yield

Submitted by John Heard, Crop Nutrition Specialist

The concern that producers have is that compaction in the ruts would limit root growth and subsequently reduce nutrient and water uptake, therefore limiting yield.

University of Minnesota studies indicate a possible 17% yield loss when corn is planted into parts of fields badly rutted during the previous harvest. But yield loss data due to in-season wheel traffic ruts and compaction between rows is limited.

Most of Manitoba Agriculture’s applied corn nitrogen research is done in farmer’s fields, so sprayer traffic through plots does occur. Manitoba Agriculture Soil Fertility Specialist, John Head, is seldom concerned as compaction ruts are rarely visible. However in 2016, on one of the sandy loam sites, sprayer ruts were 3-4” deep and quite visible, so they were taken to yield.

Read the whole story here (PDF 600KB) wheel-ruts-corn-yields 

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