Conventional cultivation can have devastating effects on soil. With traditional cultivation techniques, soil is often ploughed several times to create a fine seed bed and control weeds.
This will expose soil particles and erosion from wind and rain, destroy humus and result in severe breakdown of soil structure.
Repeated passes by heavy tractors and equipment lead to soil degeneration and to the formation of almost impenetrable layers of compact soil (“hard pan”) below the surface.
Livestock grazing, combined with these factors, contributes to soil compaction/”hard pan” formation. “Hard pans” can develop at any level in the soil and will constitute a barrier
to water and oxygen entry and will prevent deeper, healthier root growth.
When soil is compacted and a “hard pan” forms, helpful soil microbes and earthworms are reduced or eliminated, pastures dry out faster, become water-logged quicker and plant growth is restricted resulting in lower crop and pasture yields.
Six Reasons Why You Should Aerate Your Farm
Aeration gives water and nutrients better access to the root systems of your forage. As the tines of the aerator penetrate, twist and exit, they create an easier means of getting vital elements to the roots of your plants. The more nutrients that water can take to the roots, the more productive the pasture can be.
Aeration reduces fertiliser costs. Aeration can cut your fertiliser by costs up to 35%.
Aeration enhances the use of manure on pastures. Many farmers use manure from poultry houses as fertiliser for their pasture. When combined with aeration, manure can become an even more important element of forage production.
Aeration reduces soil erosion. When water hits pasture it will either run in or run off and when it runs off it takes part of the soil with it. Aeration allows more of the water to run in.
Aeration enhances the outcomes of no-till planting. As more farmers adapt the practice of no-till planting, many are discovering that aeration prior to planting yields better results.
Aeration is effective in a variety of soil types. When a farmer is faced with rocky soil a subsoiling tool is often found to be useless. With the unique rotating tine system of the aerator rocky soil is not a problem. It allows producers who do not have the ideal soil environment to still take advantage of aeration benefits.