Soil: Taking the pressure off this winter

You might feel like you need tracks – or maybe even a raft – to cope with some of the saturated soils this year, but farmers in the northern counties have been advised to consider simpler measures to save the structure of their soil.

Heavier machinery, wetter weather and tighter working windows have all combined to put the pressure on the region’s soil.

Minimum pressure

Robin Bolton, senior crops development advisor at College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE), said tyres were a good place to start and advised that they should be inflated at their minimum pressure.

“The correct tyre set-up is vital to lessen soil damage,” he said.

“To correctly set up tyres, it is vital to know the maximum weight that will be carried by the tyre and the maximum speed it will be travelling at.

Deflation and re-inflation

“These two facts can then be used in accordance with tyre manufacturers’ hand books to determine the minimum pressure that the tyre can be safely operated at as keeping tyre pressures as low as possible will help to reduce some of the damage to the soil in difficult conditions.

It should be noted that high road speeds require higher pressures; however if facilities are available to re-inflate tyres when leaving the field before transport, a lot of potential exists to reduce tyre pressures for field work, where speeds are slower, hence reducing soil damage.

Correct tyre set-up has also been the subject of recent Arable Business Development Group (BDG) meetings and will feature as a topic at the upcoming CAFRE, Ulster Arable Society and UFU Arable Conference.

The deadline to join the next set of Business Development Groups has been extended and these groups are currently open for new applications until January 12, 2018.

The Arable Conference – which will be held at Greenmount Campus on January 11, 2018 – is open for registrations on the UFU website.

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