Thursday, June 1, 2017

Taking the Bite Out of High Salt Soils

The soils of the Skagit Valley are noted for being very fertile. After 27 years of pulling soil samples in the valley, I would agree with this statement. However, along with the good, you will always have some bad. One of the most prevalent challenges in our valley is high salt. This can happen from fields being very close to a salt water bay, poorly drained soils with high levels of nitrate nitrogen, or fields close to dairies where liquid manure has been applied over the years. There is no fault in these soil conditions, sometimes it just works out that way. 

That being said, it is possible to help a crop get through the stress of trying to grow under high salt conditions. The picture above is of two corn plants grown in separate fields. The plant on the left is from the untreated field and the plant on the right is from the treated field. The two fields are separated by a ditch and have always been farmed the same.

Without going into a tremendous amount of over explanation, I can say the treated planting had a pre plant incorporated combination of a high-carbon liquid product with a soil surfactant. The treatment in furrow at planting was a biological inoculant and a salicylic acid product to enhance root structure and increase root length. After 11 days from planting, it looks like the program is working so far. We will do another picture and post in a couple of weeks.