What causes soil compaction
Soil consists of organic matter, soil particles and pore spaces. These pore spaces are vital for water percolation and infiltration, as well as air exchange. When soil becomes compacted, it reduces its porosity—in other words, makes the space between soil particles smaller.
Less porous soil reduces water infiltration into the soil root zone, increases surface ponding, decreases root growth and reduces crop yield. With the heavy agriculture equipment the industry is accustomed to, and localized stock trampling by cattle, subsurface compaction can result.
When it comes to crop production, it is important to make the best use of our land and reduce the negative effects that field operations can have. Some of the most prolific areas prone to compaction are solonetzic and high alkaline soils. The prime soil amendment for both of these areas is raw Humalite.
Soil compaction solutions
One of the most common ways to fix this problem is deep ripping to break up the compacted layer, also called the hardpan. However, this can lead to further moisture loss in the soil and increase susceptibility to wind erosion. Another solution for soil compaction is increasing overall organic matter with the addition of organic soil amendments.
Organic matter on the surface can provide a cushion to the soil below, while subsurface organic matter can attach to soil particles and strengthen soil aggregates. Susceptible fields that are high in silt or clay content can become more resilient to soil compaction when they have high organic matter content and increased biological activity—two parameters our humic product can improve.
Humalite is an organic product which increases soil organic matter and overall microbiology. Humalite contains high amounts of humic substances (>85%), organic carbon and organic matter. The organic carbon portion of our product is ‘microorganism food,’ which gives it the ability increase biological activity within the soil.
WestMET Ag’s humic product
Our granular humic product can help your soil recuperate and resist compaction due to its high strength of soil organic matter and high humic acid content. Raw Humalite has the ability to improve the structure of heavy clay soils (which have the highest compaction risk) by breaking large aggregates into smaller ones, allowing better water and air circulation within the soil and resulting in healthier and more productive land.
In addition to its ability to mitigate the negative effects of compaction, granular Humalite is also a great product for retaining moisture. Farmers are often at the mercy of mother nature to get the moisture required for seed germination and overall plant growth. The ability of Humalite to hold water is directly related to its humic acid content and type.
With the highest humic acid content in North America, Humalite has the ability to hold over seven times its weight in water. Producers in areas susceptible to drought can benefit from an application of our granular product, which provides a safeguard against moisture stress, leading to faster and more consistent germination.
Although an application can be made any time throughout the year, putting Humalite down in the fall can allow more moisture to be retained in the field following snowmelt in the spring. Find more information on our humic products here or fill out our sales form for a quote on our product.