Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

How can I improve my soil?

I have areas of brown/clay like soil that doesnt produce very well.  What can I add to these areas to improve its production?  Side hills in SW Iowa.  Any nutrients to make it more inviting to plant growth?Problem areas are of Dickinson Sharpsburg Complex soil.

0 Kudos
3 Replies

Re: How can I improve my soil?

Several things to consider;


Does it drain very well? Sometimes rain soaks into the top of a hill then seeps out the side and should have tile put in to drain properly.


Have you soil tested? That my point to some problems


Is there much organic matter? If most of the organic matter has washed off the side hills the microbes will be starving. Kind of a catch 22, there's no vegetative growth 'cause there's no microbial growth and there's no microbial growth 'cause there's no vegetative growth.  I have a farm like that ,

last year I planted wheat and seeded mammoth red clover as a cover crop (and nitrogen source for this years corn) . The clover really grew well, in fact we had trouble killing it. The corn looks better this year than it ever has however I won't know the yield for a month or so.


Good Luck

0 Kudos
Frequent Visitor

Re: How can I improve my soil?

Go with a soy/wheat rotation. No till and dont take the straw. try corn again in 4-5 years. Have fertilizer on planter?Grid sampling seems to pay very well on poor ground.  Not very many in ia growing wheat. Maybe alfalfa would work? I run some poor ground and only plant corn about 1 out of 5 years. deep ripper might help to start. Every area is different. Your best advice would probably come from your agronomist. Believe nothing u hear and half what u see!

0 Kudos
Jim Meade / Iowa City
Senior Contributor

Re: How can I improve my soil?

You might take soil samples by soil type.  If needed, lime.  Check with local ISU extension agronomists to see what they recommend.  For grains, most any agronomist can recommend inputs for a given crop.

0 Kudos