In descending order, by date published.
Beef cattle production is directly affected by soils, but active soil management is limited. Most producers' soil management decisions are limited to submitting a soil sample, getting the analysis back, and then applying the tons of fertilizer or lime recommended at the bottom of the sheet. Meanwhile, producers request assistance to reduce or eliminate mud, weeds, gully erosion, and compaction (if they have identified compacted ground). Occasionally, producers don't have enough forage or hay to get cattle through drought or winter because of low forage production. These issues may have little to do with soil fertility but instead be directly related to soil properties.
Authors: Steve Higgins
A typical cow-calf grazing operation needs to feed and water cattle on a daily basis. Ideally, this is accomplished by rotating cattle from field to field and providing them with a convenient source of water to drink. Cattle operations can better manage cattle when facilities are designed to meet the needs of cattle and the producer. Land use-planning can increase production and reduce production costs.
Understanding soil mechanics and management in winter-feeding areas could improve beef cattle production, with less effort on the producer and cattle. This publication is intended to guide evaluating soil strength for winter-feeding areas, the pollution potential of winter-feeding areas, and to provide solutions for correcting structural deficiencies and reducing mud on both the ground and on the cattle.
The fragipan is a naturally occurring restrictive soil horizon that virtually stops water movement and root growth through the soil. It is commonly located 18-32 inches below the surface of most of Kentucky's fragipan soils. The dense nature of this layer is due to the cementation and binding of the soil particles with a silicate rich amorphous aluminosilicate in association with iron. The binding agents seal the pores and pack soil particles close together. The fragipan is found in 2.7 million acres in Kentucky, and about 50 million acres in the United States.
Recommended nutrient additions, based on a soil test, are only made when a crop yield or economic response has been measured for that crop under Kentucky soil-climatic conditions. Many field studies have been conducted by the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station under Kentucky farm conditions to determine the extent of any primary, secondary, or micronutrient needs. Yield and soil test data from these studies serve as guidelines for establishing recommendations contained in this publication. Recommendations in this publication strive to supply the plant nutrients needed to achieve maximum economic return assuming good management practices.
Eighty to 90 percent of disease and insect problems on landscape plants can be traced back to soil problems. Plants must be adapted to the site if they are to meet our expectations of growing, remain healthy, and attractive.
While many factors influence how many animals a farm can carry, soil type has a major influence and should be considered when purchasing, leasing, planning, or managing livestock on pastures.
Soil acidity is one of the most important soil factors affecting crop growth and ultimately, yield and profitability. It is determined by measuring the soil pH, which is a measure of the amount of hydrogen ions in the soil solution. As soil acidity increases, the soil pH decreases. Soils tend to be naturally acidic in areas where rainfall is sufficient to cause substantial leaching of basic ions (such as calcium and magnesium), which are replaced by hydrogen ions. Most soils in Kentucky are naturally acidic because of our abundant rainfall.
Soil texture refers to the proportion of sand, silt, and clay in a soil. Texture influences almost every aspect of soil use, both in agricultural and engineering applications, and even how natural ecosystems function. Many scientists consider soil texture the most important soil property as it can influence soil/water relationships, gas exchange, and plant nutrition. Accurately determining soil texture in a lab requires time and money; therefore, it is often necessary to estimate soil texture in the field by feel, which can be very accurate if done correctly.
Authors: Dewayne Ingram
Although choosing or formulating media with optimum physical properties (such as pore air space and water holding capacity) for a given production environment and crop plant is important, this publication focuses on the chemical properties of soilless media determined with a laboratory test as conducted through the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service at the Division of Regulatory Services Soil Testing Laboratories.
In January 2012, Agriculture and Natural Resource (ANR) agents were surveyed to estimate land values and rental rates for various types of farmland. This document summarizes the results from the agent survey. Dollar values are rounded to the nearest $5-$10 for rental rates and $100 for land values.
Authors: Bill Fountain
Soils become compacted as a result of traffic. Compaction is common in urban areas and results from construction equipment and foot traffic. Soil is more likely to become compacted when the soil is wet than when it is excessively dry. Soil compaction is permanent, at least when viewed in reference to a human life span. Protecting the soil from becoming compacted is much easier than dealing with the negative impact of compaction on plant growth and health.
Soil is a mixture of weathered rock fragments and organic matter at the earth's surface. It is biologically active--a home to countless microorganisms, invertebrates, and plant roots. Soil provides nutrients, water, and physical support for plants as well as air for plant roots. Soil organisms are nature's primary recyclers, turning dead cells and tissue into nutrients, energy, carbon dioxide, and water to fuel new life.
Authors: Edwin Ritchey
Landscapes with little or no topsoil can make it difficult to produce a garden, lawn, or other plants. Topsoil, dark in color compared to the underlying soil, is the part of a soil that is most biologically active, nutrient rich, and easily managed. It also is usually more easily worked than underlying soil, supplies most of the plant's water and nutrients, and is generally best for plant growth.
Horse pastures are fertilized to ensure a reliable supply of energy, protein, and other nutrients for a long season of grazing. Management of plant nutrients maintains a balance of improved grasses and legumes and suppresses many pasture weeds. Properly fertilized pastures look good and harm neither animals nor the environment.
Most farmers in Kentucky can identify with a myriad of problems associated with mud forming around high traffic areas, including areas around horse and cattle waterers, feed bunks, round bale feeders, walk paths and gate entrances. Mud is usually a result of animals congregating in and around these areas, but increased traffic can enhance the problem. In many cases, finding solutions to mud problems on farms is not the issue--the issue is determining how to make solutions economical.
No-tillage is the preferred method of crop production for most Kentucky farmers. No-tillage has been proven to increase soil quality and decrease the risk of soil compaction as compared to crop production using annual tillage. However, with the use of heavy farm equipment, soil compaction is always a threat with either tillage or no-tillage. The possibility of soil compaction and its effect on crop production is a constant concern to many farmers using no-tillage. If soil compaction occurs, is there a difference between the two tillage systems on how it affects crop production and the recovery of the soil with and without subsoil tillage? The following study was conducted to help producers and advisors understand soil compaction and its effects on corn and soybean production as well as the ability of the two tillage systems to recover from soil compaction.
Commercial wine grapes have recently emerged as an alternative crop in Kentucky after laws evolved encouraging private entrepreneurs to invest in vineyards and small farm wineries many decades after prohibition shut down the industry. Grapes grown in Kentucky are exposed to biotic and abiotic stresses that reduce crop yields and quality or kill grapevines. Damaging winter temperatures, spring frosts, and higher than optimal growing temperatures occur regularly. Despite these challenges, grape growing is a successful enterprise in many areas of the state.
The most important part of making fertilizer recommendations is collecting a good, representative soil sample. Soil test results and fertilizer recommendations are based solely on the few ounces of soil submitted to the laboratory for analysis. These few ounces can represent several million pounds of soil in the field. If this sample does not reflect actual soil conditions, the results can be misleading and lead to costly over- or under-fertilization. It is necessary to make sure that the soil sample sent to the laboratory accurately represents the area sampled.
Authors: A.D. Karathanasis
Authors: A.D. Karathanasis
9/1/1996 (minor revision)
Authors: Ken Wells
Authors: Lloyd Murdock
Authors: Harold Vaught