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Capturing Rainfall After Drought

3 August 2018

When rain is forecast, how can we divert the water into the soil rather than letting it run over the soil surface?

Soils are likely to head from very hard back into a more friable (workable state) at some point in the near future, providing a window of opportunity to aerate soils which is worth being prepared for. Not all compaction built up over successive wet seasons will have been alleviated by this prolonged dry spell.

Capturing the rainfall is encouraged with good ground vegetation cover, uneven soil surface and open soil pores. Once you can (i.e. not to hard), dig a few field test holes to assess the level of compaction and if any or what treatment is most suitable. This is where equipment such as a slit aerator could help, for livestock compaction. A slit aerator creates a narrow slit in the soil and encourages further cracking. These cracks will let water in to plant roots faster, give plants more space to search for nutrients and also reduce future waterlogging and allow water into a deeper soil profile, therefore, helping reduce the impact of flash flooding.

Poppy Frater, 

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