Keyline Plow Field Day at Raven Hill Farm

Keyline Plow Field Day at Raven Hill Farm

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1:30 pm - 4:00 pm

Raven Hill Farm


Date: Friday, September 15th, 2017
Time: 1:30pm – 4:00pm
Where: Raven Hill Farm, 1330 Mount Newton X Rd., Central Saanich, BC (see map)


Join us for a Keyline Plow Field Day at Raven Hill Farm! We’ll be running the Yeoman 6SB Keyline Plow, demonstrating two simple soil health indicators and answering questions about our research project and keyline design.

  • See the keyline subsoiler in action and how it can be used to help establish trees and improve rooting depth
  • Use a penetrometer to assess compaction
  • Learn to complete a simple field infiltration test, to assess your soils internal drainage
  • Talk to other farmers about soil and water management challenges

Project overview starting at 1:30pm and keyline plowing to follow.

** No registration required.

The 'Keyline Plow' coulter and shanks, designed for minimal surface disturbance.
The ‘Keyline Plow’ coulter and shanks, designed for minimal surface disturbance.

Nitrogen-Fixing Seed Germination in Riplines (Clover & Vetch)
Nitrogen-Fixing Seed Germination in Riplines (Clover & Vetch)

What is Keyline Plowing?

‘Keyline pattern cultivation’ is subsoil ripping done across contours using ‘keyline geometry’. The narrow shanks are meant to penetrate the subsoil, to a depth of 2’’ below existing rooting depth without inverting the soil. The cultivation pattern works to slow, sink, spread and store surface runoff.

The effect is to loosen compacted soil and open up micro-water harvesting & diversion ditches across the landscape. In some pastures, it is possible to increase the rooting depth of forage plants by breaking up hardpan and allowing root access into these micro-furrows.

With water and root activity deeper than before the treatment, the opportunity exists to create carbon storage deeper into the profile via root exudates & soil microorganisms.

How Might Keyline Plowing Help Rehabilitate Soils?

Potential advantages of properly applied keyline pattern cultivation include:

  •  Increase farm water use efficiency and availability
  • Support the capture, storage, and utilization of precipitation
  • Reduce nutrient loading into local creeks and near-shore marine environments
  • More even distribution of rainfall across the site, reduced flooding and drought risk
  • Increased oxygen, nutrient and water infiltration, increasing soil health
  • Improved soil structure, tilth & internal drainage
  • Fracturing of hardpans creating a deeper rhizosphere & reduce compaction

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