Aerway or Subsoiler...???

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BlondeD

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My pasture renovation continues on the old family farm down here in southwest Tennessee. Got a chance to pick up either a 15' Aerway or a two blade parabolic subsoiler. Anyone here that's used both and can compare their results would be greatly appreciated. It's been in pasture for about 50 years and before that a typical small farm in the mid South...cotton, corn, etc etc. Thanks
 

sstterry

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Others here will be much more knowledgeable than me, but my opinion is that if you are worried about compaction of the soil after all those years, I would elect to use a subsoiler first and then in later years go with the Areway.

I realize this answer doesn't tell you which to buy, but that is what I think would be best for renovation.
 

jdg

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I would try and borrow a penetrometer (extensions sometimes has one) and test the resistance of your soils (be mindful, wet soggy soils tend to test different than drought soils). If you have over 300lbs resistance, you have a compaction problem that probably needs steel. (I'd use the sub-soiler, but the idea is to disturb as little soil as possible, and preferably on contour if you're sloped) If you don't, you might could accomplish compaction with various species of plants. (Ryegrass, grazing radish, Sorghum Sudan, etc.) You can also dig up some of your deep rooted weed species to see if their roots ever take a hard horizontal turn. This is a good sign you have a compaction layer. IMO, you will probably see a growth response from an Aeroway, but it's because oxygen is burning organic matter and microbial life at exposed levels and sparking production. This is not helping long term. If your soil test doesn't reveal a lack of something, and if you're PH is where you want it to be, try adding diversity to pasture sward with a borrowed no-till drill, or see if the cattle will trample seed in for you strategically if you can borrow a drill. Managed grazing can also reveal native (or long ago introduced) species that will thrive under the proper nutrients and management. I've seen clovers, vetch, and various forbs compete since we stopped spraying herbicides and fertilizing with big doses of commercial fertilizer. A monoculture doesn't exist in nature, and trying to maintain one is like playing Whack a Mole.
 

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