Crop Residue Impact on Soil Temperature

Soil temperatures

Crop residue in fields tends to hold excess water and can significantly lower soil temperature in the spring. Where excess residue is directly around newly planted seed, it may deprive developing seedlings of essential heat units necessary for rapid emergence.

In a strip-tilled field, a recent study tracked soil temperatures in a tilled row with low residue and in a row with high residue for one month. From April 1 to April 30, the low residue strip accumulated 99 soil growing degree units (GDUs) and the adjacent strip with high residue accumulated only 28 soil GDUs. Even in mid-May, the two rows showed an 11 ºF temperature variance.

Talk with your AgVenture Yield Specialist about using row cleaners or other residue management operation.