Tempero, the perfect soil for plowing

We have been talking for a few days about the benefits and drawbacks of tilling the soil. We discussed in an article the advantages of doing it and we also dedicate another article totally to the opposite, no tillage. For those who practice soil plowing, it is convenient to know what time is the ideal to do it. This is known as tempero. Let’s see it.


You just have to check or see a floor when it is plowed without enough moisture. Some very compact lumps of earth come out. Then, after this previous plowing, a new pass (a complementary task) is necessary to break up these clods and leave the perfect soil for sowing.

Otherwise it would be when we plow with a soil that has accumulated enough moisture. Either because it has rained on the area or it has recently been watered. When we plow this soil, we find that, apart from the fact that the earth remains attached to all the tillage tools, a «acemented» mass is formed that is not beneficial at all when sowing.


Since neither of these two examples is ideal, we have to find the middle ground, which is not easy at all.

A farmer can wait a few days for the soil to “dry out” after it has rained. However, if the area is dry and it has been a long time since water has fallen from the sky, looking for the temperature is, so to speak, impossible.

Often it is necessary to resort to leaving the earth with clods after plowing and, later, to carry out an additional work to break them up and that the soil is prepared for planting.

The value of the tempero is not usually established experimentally, rather intuitively. The experienced farmer is able to recognize a soil in tempera just by looking at it or by picking up a sample by hand.


From a technical point of view, the word tempero is related to the cohesion forces or plasticity that a soil has. When a soil is dry, that is, the level of humidity is minimal, it cracks, it is quite fragile and it disintegrates easily. When we walk on it it is not able to deform without breaking.

As we have said, this soil will form large aggregates of soil (known as clods), often several kilograms in weight, which make any planting impossible. The seed would be lost among so many holes. It is the dry state .

In the  plastic state , the soil harbors enough moisture to deform without breaking into smaller aggregates. It is a very opportune state because, when plowing, large masses of land are not formed.

Finally, after a heavy rain or ‘blanket watering’, the soil harbors a lot of moisture. It is said that it is in a liquid state , it is nothing more than mud, a mass of land with a lot of water that when squeezed releases liquid that runs off between the hands. Obviously, the plow is unthinkable.


To get to classify it within a point of these three states , we could say that the temperature is an intermediate point between the dry state and the plastic. That is, the work allows large aggregates to form and the soil does not have so much moisture as to make work difficult.

Very dry soil makes plowing extremely difficult

To add a more technical aspect to the matter, and not leave it to the expert eye of the farmer , this state of temperature is found when it has a humidity higher than the minimum in which the soil can deform and not break, and lower humidity than when we introduce a pointed object into the ground and dirt remains stuck to it.

Yes, the truth is that it is something difficult to explain …


Plain and simple, because it offers greater advantages than doing it at another time. When the ground is very dry, it offers a great resistance to the advance of the implement, so the cost of the operation will increase considerably.

On the other hand, the result prevents direct sowing.

If the ground is very wet, when the implement and the tractor pass through the ground, it deforms to such an extent that the “work sole” is formed, the tire mark that usually gives away such a tilling operation. If there is a lot of water on the ground, the machinery slips and makes it difficult to adhere, so the cost will also be higher.

The tempero, finally, is a recommendation for all those who will plow your soil, if the physical conditions of it are not good and you need to improve them. Remember that this operation has both advantages and disadvantages. Each case will have to be studied separately, as we have tried to do.

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