AGRIBUSINESS: Cold Good For Soil

With the wind chill yesterday morning, it felt like 51 degrees below zero in Olewein in northeast Iowa.
State Climatologist Harry Hillaker says since Saturday, temperatures have been significantly cold, and won’t let up until Wednesday. A stretch that long, he says, only comes to pass every five or seven years.
Winter isn’t even halfway over, and yet Hillaker says the soil is frozen more than a foot deep statewide. He says, frozen pipes aside, it’s not a net negative, “As far as soil goes, it’s somewhat helpful to have a decent amount of soil frost.”
Hillaker says going through freezing and thawing cycles can help reduce compaction, stirring the soil.
But not all crops appreciate the cold weather, “Could cause trouble for things like alfalfa, perennial sort of vegetation where it might result in winter kill.”