B: Hello and welcome to AgPhD I’m Brian Hefty. D: AndI’m Darren Hefty thanks forjoining us today. One of thefun things for Brian and meis trying to help farmersreally anywhere around theworld trying to solve theirsoil problems one beingsodic soils. This is not theeasiest to solve and itdoesn’t happen overnight butwe’ll show you what you cando to fix these areas andget them to be productiveagain. B: We’re also goingto talk a little bit todaysince it is fall now aboutdeep tillage. There are alot of different ways youcan do deep tillage so wewant to talk about the bestthing could be for your farm.Well speaking of good thingsfor your farm, we’ll show youhow to stop our weed of the weekand get this thing off of yourproperty, but first here is ourfarm basics.B: During our Farm Basicstime today we’re going totalk a little about soiltesting in some less commonareas like let’s say yourlawn or your pasture. D:Alright here we go Brian,this big discussion hereabout lawn fertility and Italk to people all the timethat say, “Well what do youmean just get a bag offertilizer at the hardwarestore and I spread it out onmy yard and I’m good.” And Iask them, “Well what rate doyou use and what particularnutrients are in thefertilizer?” The answer thatI get often is, “well Idon’t know I buy step one, Idon’t know what’s in it,it’s just the first thingyou’re supposed to do in thespring.” B: Now you saidlawns it’s really not thatmuch different for pasturesalthough people do know whatthey’re putting on and guesswhat they’re just putting onnitrogen, yes nitrogen issuper important for grassbut that’s not everything.You’ve got to look at allthe nutrients because here’sthe whole thing whether youare a homeowner or you havepasture land, you don’t wantto spend any more money thannecessary and you want yourlawn or pasture to look asgood as possible if you lookat it from the pastureperspective be as productiveas possible. Well the onlyway you’re going to do thatis if you balance yournutrients. D: Unless you’vegot this huge massive estateyou probably don’t need togrid soil sample your lawn.Let’s just say that you’vegot a lawn that’s 20 feet by30 feet pulling one sampleis probably representativeenough. B: Yeah but let’sface it a lot of people havea front yard and a back yardright. Well the back yardsometimes might sit down ina swamp or it might be on ahill. I’m just saying itmight be different than thefront lawn. So all we’resaying here is when you havedifferent areas I don’t carehow big the size is we’retalking about whether thisis pastures, lawns, or yourfield. We want to sample thedifferent areas withtopography and soil typeseparately. So for your lawnyes you might take onesample in the front yard andone sample in the backyardlet’s just take a look atthose and see what they looklike. In a pasture situationif it was me I’d either gridsample it or I would zonesoil sample it and Iabsolutely would not do acomposite test. So let’s sayI had a quarter section thatwas all pasture, I’m notgoing to go out there pullsome samples and blend themall together, that tells menothing. That tells me theaverage of the whole thing.That doesn’t help me whenI’m fertilizing. What I’mafter is in each individualarea how am I doing therefor fertility and what do Ineed there for the bestfertilizer products to giveme my best return oninvestment. D: Alright itdoesn’t have to be thatcomplicated for your lawn.Let’s just say you had afront lawn and a back lawnthat are totally different.Take two samples but makesure you send in a completesample. B: Before we get tothat complete sample thingwe got to talk about howyou’re even going to soiltest. Darren said pull atest from your front yardback yard. What you’re afterhere is we want to pullabout 8 different cores. Sowe want to keep these coresclose together whetheryou’re in a lawn, pasture,field I don’t care basicallyyou go to a spot you’ve gota soil probe you’re going togo probably 6 inches deepthat’s what most people willdo. You’re going to put thatprobe down in the soil 6inches dump that in a bucketand you do 8 of those justright in a little circlethen you can either blendthat together if you want toor most labs will blend itfor you. So you dump that ina sample bag-send it in. D:Alright now when I mentioneda complete soil analysiswhat we really want to seeis not just nitrogen,phosphorus, and potassium.We want to see all themicronutrients and secondarynutrients as well. Itdoesn’t cost a lot of moneyin many cases you’re goingto spend around $30 to getthis complete analysis andyou’ll also getrecommendations from the labas far as, well how muchshould I apply for a lawn orfor a pasture. B: Yeah, soyou could spend a little bitless money if all you testedwas N, P, and K but sulfur,calcium, magnesium thesecondary nutrients aresuper important and thenyou’ve also got themicronutrients-superimportant. Now it’sinteresting very often we’llhear from people who havepastures or lawns andthey’ll say, “Well I don’twant to spend that much onfertilizer.” I’m not evensuggesting you spend anymore than normal. I’m justasking you to spend it onthe right things. Maybe youneed a little bit lessnitrogen and a little bitmore boron or zinc or copperor sulfur. I don’t knowexactly what you need unlessI see that soil test. D: Soto sum things up here, soiltesting is not just forfarmers in their crop fieldsit’s for you if you own anyproperty whether it’s a lawnor a pasture. Take good soilsamples so you can put thenutrients that you’re cropor your lawn or your grassneeds. B: Well one of thethings your crop, your lawn,or grass always needs isbetter weed control. We’regoing to talk how to stopour Weed of the Week comingup later in the show.B: One of the mostchallenging soil conditionsyou can deal with is if youhave a sodic soil. Now to meit’s super simple and easy.A sodic soil just has excesssodium but technicallyspeaking there are a fewfactors that would qualifyyou as officially sodic soiland I had to even pull outthe sheet because I neverremember what they are. It’sa low electricalconductivity, a high soilpH, a high sodium absorptionratio, and poor soilphysical condition. Butagain for me sodic soilsimply means we’ve got toomuch sodium. D: Well there’sa lot of reasons that youdon’t want too much sodiumand one of them youmentioned Brian high pH.Sodium raises a soil pH fourtimes more than calciumdoes. So if you’ve got anexcess of sodium your oddsof a high pH are prettygood. Now that high pHcauses a lot of issues foryou by itself in limitingnutrient uptake for yourcrop and nutrientavailability for your crop.So certainly we don’t wantto have a pH that’sdramatically high. In manycases like on our farm forcorn, soybeans, and wheat welike to see that pH down inthe low to mid 6’s while ifyou’re up in the 8’s or even9 because you have a sodicsoil that’s going to requiresome work to move that down.B: Part of the reason we’retalking about this today isthis is not a situation thathappens overnight. This hasbeen building up over time.Now hopefully you’re able tocatch this before it buildsup to the point where you’reseeing 13% sodium in yourbase saturation test oranything like that. When youget above 1% base saturationsodium that’s where anenormous red flag should gooff and you go whoa whoawhoa what are we doing here?Here’s how you can solvethis problem of the sodicsoil. Number one you’ve gotto pull a complete soilanalysis, and what we’rereally after the specificthings we’re after- yessodium we want to test thesodium levels but we alsowant to look at the calciumand the sulfur levelsbecause that’s going to tellus what we need to do inorder to fix this problem.D: Well one of thechallenges Brian too is toget anything to work you’vegot to have decent drainageto be able to move thingsthrough the soil. Whenyou’ve got a high level ofsodium it just doesn’t evenallow water hardly to movethrough that soil. So westart by improving thedrainage and putting in somedrainage tile. One of thethings that we’ve seen too,as farmers plow in drainagetile that sodium is notalways dramatically deep inthe soil. So when you’ve gota super high sodium level itmay be really high in thetop 6 or 12 inches, but isit deep down 3 feet deep,not often and that’s reallywhere it begins. If you’vegot drainage you can getnutrients and soilamendments like Brian wasjust starting to get into tomove through the soil andtake that sodium out. B: Thereason why I mentionedcalcium and sulfur before,like Darren was getting athere, is we can use those tohelp us get rid of thatexcess sodium. So here’show. With sodium it’s not initself leachable. What wewant to do is turn it into asalt. Well salts areleachable. So if you’ve gotdrain tile in the ground andnow you have good drainagein your soil. You can turnthis sodium into a salt. Nowcommonly how people aredoing this is they’re usingsulfur and this is thereason why I wanted you totest your soil. If you’vegot let’s say crazy highlevels of sulfur, this wholething might happen justnaturally once you put thetile in the ground you mightnot have to spend any moremoney. With calcium, thereason why we love calciumso much is calcium is a verybig molecule in comparisonto magnesium. So if we’vegot lots of calcium in thesoil that means we’re goingto have better soilporosity. More oxygen’sgoing to get down into thesoil, more moisture is goingto move through the soil. Soyou will absolutely havebetter drainage when youhave good calcium levels asopposed to when you havehigh magnesium levels. So iffor example you’ve alreadygot really high calciumlevels you’ve got reallyhigh sulfur levels then ittells me, hey all you needto do here is put that tilein the ground. If you’re lowon sulfur, you probably needto add some sulfur. Ifyou’re low on calciumprobably need to add somecalcium. So those are thethings that we’re looking atto fix this sodic soil. D:And I want to make one morepoint Brian because I wasjust up in North Dakota herelast month and I was talkingto a bunch of growers thatsaid, “well hey you talkabout this tile but what ifI just do surface drainage?”That really does not solvethe problem and in fact itmay enhance your problem asthat sodium just sits thereright on the soil surface.Yes we can get rid of somesurface water but that soilis still full of water it’snot moving things downthrough it and often timesbecomes compacted as welladding to your challenge. B:Excellent point. Tile is theway you solve this and alsodon’t let people tell you,“Oh tile doesn’t fix theproblem.” Well sure tile onits own may not fix theproblem, again you got tolook at your calcium, lookat your sulfur, look at youroverall sodium level and itmight take some time. Ifyou’ve got 13%, 15%, 18%sodium in your soil thisisn’t just going to happenovernight. But again, itdidn’t get created overnighteither. It built up probablyover 50 years. So I wouldjust tell you if you’ve gotsodium levels that high,yeah it’s a 20 year processbut so what you got to getstarted at it otherwisebasically your soil is dead.If you’ve got sodium levelsover 1% you’re alreadylosing yield. If it’s over2% you’re losing a lot ofyield. By the time thatsodium gets over 5% you’vegot a sodic soil um yoursoil’s mostly dead, itstinks. So yes there arecrops that can survive thata little bit better likebarley for example but wedon’t want to just raisecrops to hopefully survivewe want to raise crops tohave record yields. So let’sget this thing fixed. Get agood soil test, get the tilein the ground, look at yourcalcium and your sulfurlevels get those adjusted,and then the last thing I’llthrow out is if you want tokind of speed this processup you could throw a bunchof bales out there. Throwsome straw out there,stalks, whatever just getsomething out there fororganic material that’llhelp loosen up your soil alittle bit, help drainage,improve in the short-term. Imean there are many stepsyou can take to make thissodic soil better right now.D: Well as Brian mentionedsodic soils didn’t happenovernight, they built upover time and you know weedproblems are kind of thesame way. They start withjust one or two and thenthey grow from there. We’llshow you how to stop thisWeed of the Week before itgets out of control comingup later in the show.B: Each fall Darren and Ianswer lots of questionsabout deep tillage so we’regoing to talk about thisjust a little bit but I justwant you to think aboutthis, when I consider deeptillage I’m thinking aboutseveral different things. Icould consider strip-tilldeep tillage if I go down to10 inches deep which wecommonly do with a shank onour farm. I could call zonebuilding where I’m goingwith a straight shank narrowpoint deep tillage. Let’stalk about a chisel plow ora moldboard plow if I’mgoing anything deeper thanabout 8 inches I wouldconsider that deep tillage.There are a lot of differentways to do this and it alldepends on what you aretrying to accomplish. D: Thefirst thing I look at iswhat are you trying to dothe deep tillage for. I liketo use a shovel get out inthe field and see what’sgoing on but you couldcertainly use a penetrometeras well to find out whereexactly you have compactionlayers that need to be dealtwith. Let’s say yourcompaction layers at 6inches well deep tillage foryou may be 8 inches but ifyou’ve got a compacted layerthat’s down at 10 inches youmay have to run 12. Soyou’ve got to define exactlywhere that compaction issueis and determine what yourgoals are with the tillagepass. B: Ok let’s say mygoal is not to removecompaction or reducecompaction which I couldcertainly do with let’s saya zone builder straightshank narrow point but let’ssay my goal is you know whatI’ve been no tilling or I’vebeen strip tilling and ohI’ve done everythingfertilizer wise supershallow for a long time. Idid some soil tests every 3inches down and I realizedall my fertility is on thetop 3 inches that’s aproblem. I want to mix mysoil around. Ok then whatare you going to pick?That’s where some guys goback to the old moldboardplow or a deep ripper. Thereare a lot of different waysto handle that. Also insteadof stirring everythingaround maybe your goal is,“you know what I just wantto get more fertilizerdeep.” So that’s where youcould go out with let’s saya strip-till machine going 8or 10 inches deep with ashank or even a coultercould potentially run thatdeep too and literally placenutrients down that deep. D:And the first thing on manyfarmers’ minds is justresidue management. “hey Ihad 250 bushel corn and I’vegot tons and tons of cornstalk material out there.”if you need to do somechopping and cutting of thatresidue then you may use aheavy disk you may use acoulter machine something tochop things up in a planwhere you’re going to makemultiple passes through thefield. B: Yeah and part ofthat multiple pass then isburying a bunch of thatresidue where again I goback to the moldboard plowor potentially the deepripper. So there are a lotof different things that youcan do with this deeptillage. Now one of ourbiggest concerns whenever westart talking about majortillage is how muchcompaction are we going tocreate? When you go out witha moldboard plow: 1) You’regoing to reduce soil organicmatter. 2) You are going tocreate some compaction atthe bottom of where thatmoldboard plow is going torun. Same thing with thedeep ripper. So you’ve toreally take a look at thisand say alright is it worthit for me to stir everythingaround to bury that residueor do I want to go anotherdirection if I go zonebuilding straight shanknarrow point if I dostrip-till. Those twomethods I’m really notcreating much if anycompaction out there somaybe that’s a good way togo it’s just you’re notgoing to stir everythingaround and bury the residuelike you would with some ofthe other methods. D: Now ofcourse if you’re doing deeptillage you probably want toget that done in the fall.The soil conditions aregenerally better than theyare in the spring for doingthis type of work but anytime you’re doing deeptillage you are exposingthat soil to more erosionpotential. So many farmersdoing the deep tillage aretrying to leave some degreeof residue for cover on topof the soil to try toprotect things as best theycan. B: Yeah and one of thebig keys here whenever youstart talking about deeptillage is look at soilmoisture. If you’ve got wetsoil that’s a big problem.Now you’re much much morelikely to create compactionand cause problems for manyyears down the road. So tryto have soil that’srelatively dry. Look at thepurpose of what you’re goingafter and really weigh thisthing out to say ok is itworth it for me to buryeverything to stir that soilaround but yet leave somecompaction out there, that’syour call. D: Well there area lot of things to thinkabout with deep tillage interms of what you’re tryingto do dealing withcompaction, dealing withresidue or other challengesout in your field. One ofthe things we’re often notdoing deep tillage for isweed control especially whenit comes to our Weed of theWeek. We’ll show you whatwill stop this weed comingup next.B: Our Weed of the Week isgumweed. D: When you thinkabout gumweed it’s one ofthose things that happensoftentimes in non-crop areasso when you look atdisturbed areas, rockygravely areas, even out intopastures we see gumweed popup. It’s a short livedperennial it only gets to bemaybe a couple maybe acouple 2 or 3 feet tall.It’s not this big bad plantbut yet it’s certainly goingto decrease the quality ofthe land and the grassgrowth around it so we wantto get it under control. B:And Darren mentionedperennial it’s usually ashort lived perennial. Itactually can be a biennialas well but either way it’sgoing to be sticking aroundfor a little while. It’s notjust an annual weed that’sgoing to die off everywinter. So you’re going toneed to do everything youcan to control this.Fortunately it’s not thatdifficult. 2,4-D will do apretty good job, dicamba,also Ally. So you could lookat combination products ifyou wanted to even if you’reout there in your pasturespraying Grazon orGrazonNext or Chapparral anyof those things willprobably work fairly well.D: Yeah I’ve heard a lot offarmers and ranchers talkabout putting some oil inwith that like some crop oilor something to try to sticka little better around thatgumweed to try to get morepenetration of the herbicideas well. B: Yeah butfortunately this isn’t a bigproblem out in crop land soI don’t know that I’d getreal concerned about it,Roundup usually will take itout especially if you’reusing a good strong rate. D:That’s it for our Weed ofthe Week gumweed but IronTalk is coming up next.As harvest begins in manyareas and is certainlygetting close in others,today’s a great time tofocus on grease. With a fewof the basics, here’s thisweek’s Iron Talk. First ofall, what is grease made of?It’s no surprise that greaseis largely made up of oil.The oil serves as theprimary lubricant in thegrease in most situations.For this reason, grease isnot a commodity where it’sall the same thing. Therecan be a tremendousdifference between the oilsand types of oils used inmaking different types ofgrease. The other bigdifferences from one brandof grease to the next arethe thickeners and additivesthey contain. Thickeners actmuch like a sponge does withwater. Thickeners in greasehold oil and release it aspressure dictates thatlubrication is needed. Instorage, it’s very common tosee some of the oil come outof solution in the greaseand settle at the top. Thisis normal and really showssome of the same activitythe grease will undergo asit’s in use. The thickenerscan also pull the oil backin to some degree as themachine they are lubricatingis cooling down and not inuse. The proper storage anduse of grease is somethingthat seems basic, but thereare a couple guidelines tofollow to get the most outof your grease andultimately your equipment.First, storage: grease tubesshould be stored upright andkept off the floor. Thishelps maintain a consistenttemperature and also keepsoils from bleeding out ofthe grease. Secondthe usage of grease. Thegrease on the outside of thezerc is designed to keepdirt and contamination out,so it’s a good idea to leavea little bit. However,cleaning that zerc offbefore adding more grease isimportant, too. Also, thegrease gun needs to becleaned so no dirt isintroduced in the greasingprocess. Over-greasing isanother common problem. Forthis, we’d simply recommendfollowing the manufacturer’srecommendations to avoidproblems. If you grew up ona farm, chances are you’vebeen using grease your wholelife. Keep in mind thethings we discussed todayabout how to use greaseproperly to help reducedowntime this harvestseason. That’s all fortoday’s Iron Talk and nowback to the show.B: That’s all the time wehave for today’s show butbefore we go we wouldencourage you to check outthe Ag PhD Radio Show formore great agronomicinformation you can find uson Sirius XM Channel 147 at2 pm Central each weekday.D: And don’t miss the nextAg PhD TV Show we’ll haveanother Weed of the Week,Farm Basics, Iron Talk, anda whole lot more. I’m DarrenHefty. B: And I’m BrianHefty thanks for watching AgPhD.