Fragipan Remedation

  • Murdock, Lloyd (PI)

Grants and Contracts Details


Project Objective: Discover a method of remediating of the top of the fragipan that is effective and economically attractive. Long-Term Benefits: When we started this research we hoped we could increase yields by 10%. However, there are some positive signs beginning to emerge that the yields might be increased by 25% or greater. If the yields of all of the croppable fragipan soils in Kentucky (about 1.5 million acres) could be increased by 25%. It is estimated it would result in about a $500 million return on these acres per year for Kentucky or 5 billion dollars over 10 years. This was calculated using $5/bu. Corn and $36.50/ac to plant and kill the ryegrass cover crop. Situation: This is an attempt to solve a significant soil problem in Kentucky. The fragipan is a naturally occurring restrictive layer in about 2.7 million acres of Kentucky soils. The pan stops water movement and root growth and its depth averages about 20-24 inches in these soil types in Kentucky. Its depth ranges from 12 to 32 inches. Therefore, it reduces the water holding potential in these soils to about one-half of that of many of our more productive soils. It also causes saturated soil conditions in the winter and spring that result in adverse conditions to crops growing during this time. Therefore, crop yields on these soils are reduced for a number of reasons. The fragipan itself is a silt loam soil that has been cemented. If the cementation is dissolved it would be very similar to the soil above it. The goal of this project is to try to dissolve the cementation and make a deeper soil that will hold more water for summer growing crops and reduce waterlogging in the winter which would make the soil better suited for winter crops and better support trafficking at this time of the year.
Effective start/end date9/1/1612/31/17


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