A.S. Series 78-28
Mechanical range improvement practices such as contour ripping and furrowing have been used to increase forage production on a variety of range sites in the northern Great Plains. These improvement practices seem to have particular promise on Claypan and Thin Claypan range sites in western South Dakota. Soils on these range sites have a sodium dispersed layer (claypan) at or near the surface. This layer severely reduces the rate of water infiltration, thus causing a greater amount of the precipitation to run off or pool up and evaporate from the soil surface than would happen on soils of similar texture without the claypan layer. Because more precipitation water is lost to runoff and evaporation, less water is available for plant growth. The compact nature of the claypan layer also tends to restrict root growth, further reducing plant growth. Thus, claypan soils are inherently lower in forage production potential than similar soils without the claypan layer. The difference between productivity of the claypan soils and "normal" soils represents the potential increase in forage production if the effects of the claypan layer could somehow be removed.
South Dakota State University
Copyright © 1978 South Dakota State University
Gartner, F. R. and Butterfield, R. I., "Improving Forage Production on Claypan Soils" (1978). South Dakota Cow-Calf Field Day Proceedings, 1978. 14.