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No-till planters and drills must be able to cut and handle residue, penetrate the soil to the proper seeding depth, and establish good seed-to-soil contact. Many different soil conditions can be present in the Mid-Atlantic region at planting time. Moist soils covered with residue, which may also be wet, can dominate during the late fall and early spring and, occasionally, in the summer. Although this condition provides an ideal environment for seed germination, it can make it difficult to cut through the residue. In contrast, hard and dry conditions may also prevail. Although cutting residue is easier during dry conditions, it is more difficult to penetrate the hard, dry soils. Proper timing, equipment selection and adjustments, and crop management can overcome these difficult issues.
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Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Interim Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.
August 8, 2014