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Timing of keyline plowing  RSS feed

 
author
Posts: 946
Location: 6200' westen slope of colorado, zone 6
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Would you want to run the keyline plow in late fall as pastures go dormant? I am guessing that more soil moisture would make the job a bit easier, but potentially more damaging to the soil structure?
In an irrigated context, am I right that you would then need/want to mark the field with furrows after keylining? Would this be best done the following spring, or straightaway after keyline plowing?

In my mind, I am imagining running the keyline plow in November, overseeding, and applying a Biodynamic field spray. Then pastures get covered in snow for winter.
Then in the spring, marking the field down the fall line to facilitate flood irrigation.
Finally putting cows back out to pasture a few weeks later.

Am I thinking along the correct lines here? How could I have a better plan?
 
Instructor
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Good question Adam,
This comes up often... Yeomans' used to say that the ideal time to use the sub-soiler was at the beginning of the rainy season just after the first rain or two had softened the soils up a bit, but before the majority of the rains would come so that your riplines would capture and store all of that seasons precipitation... He would next say that if you couldn't time it for this 'ideal' then the next best time to use the sub-soiler is 'right now'!

This does not mean of course that you needn't put any thought or strategy into your timing of its use, since there is always value in that, and you will always have trade-offs that can be thought through in relation to your goals. Your proposal is an example of strategy and may be quite sensible in your context. Good to see folks thinking this stuff through coherently! Hope to see you at the workshop, Adam!

With keyline flood flow irrigation the irrigation furrows are often established even before the plowing, and the subsoiling is done between those before irrigating... this might mean less chance of re-compacting anything after the initial pattern ripping.
 
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