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Wet conditions at harvest usually means getting the grain out of the field under less than desirable conditions.
Some guidelines for managing soil compaction during a wet harvest include:1
Harvest traffic on wet soils can cause ruts and soil compaction. Ruts left in the field can create an uneven soil surface and affect seed-to-soil contact during planting. Managing traffic patterns in fields can help minimize the detrimental effects of ruts and soil compaction.
Traffic pattern management usually involves uniform machinery sizing and use of global positioning system (GPS) guidance of equipment. Maintaining repeated traffic patterns between transport equipment and the combine can help reduce soil damage.
Smoothing out ruts is necessary to provide a uniform seedbed at planting time but tillage can have negative consequences for compaction. Try maintenance tillage in rutted areas rather than the whole field.
Sources: 1Stahl, L. 2014. Storing, drying, and handling wet soybeans. University of Minnesota Crop News. 2Stanton, M. 2017. Recommendations for repairing harvest ruts prior to planting without causing further soil compaction. Michigan State University. 3Duiker, S. 2015. Soil compaction management at harvest time. Ohio State University C.O.R.N. newsletter. 171019100454