Dry Plowing For Soil And Weed Growth





Is there any scientific reason to support the belief that it is

injurious to the soil to dry-plow it for seeding to grain this fall and

winter? Will dry-plowing now cause a worse growth of filth after the

rains than the customary fallowing in the spring? Should the stubble be

burned, or plowed under!



The points against dry-plowing to which you allude may arise from two

claims or beliefs: first, that turning up land to the sun has a tendency

to "burn out the humus"; second, that dry-plowing may leave the land so

rough and cloddy that a small rainfall is currently lost by evaporation

and leaves less moisture available for a crop than if it is plowed in

the usual way after the rains. The first claim is probably largely

fanciful, so far as an upturning in the reduced sunshine of the autumn

goes. Whatever there may be in it would occur in vastly increased degree

in a properly worked summer-fallow, and even that is negligible, because

of the greater advantage which the summer-fallow yields. There may be

cases in which one will get less growth on dry-plowing than on winter

plowing, if the land is rough and the rain scant, and yet dry-plowing

before the rains is a foundation for moisture reception and retention -

if the land is not only plowed, but is also harrowed or otherwise worked

down out of its large cloddy condition. When that is done, dry-plowing

may be a great help toward early sowing and large growth afterward. As

for weeds, dry-plowing may help their starting, but that is an advantage

and not otherwise, because they can be destroyed by cultivation before

sowing. If the land is full of weed seed, the best thing to do is to

start it and kill it. The trouble with dry-plowing probably arises, not

from the plowing, but from lack of work enough between the plowing and

the sowing. Stubble should often be burned: it depends upon the soil and

the rainfall. On a heavy soil with a good rainfall, plowing-in stubble

is an addition to the humus of the soil, because conditions favor its

reduction to that form, and there is moisture enough to accomplish that

and promote also a satisfactory growth of the new crop.





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