Farmers expect 'unbelievable' profits from strip-till
Schulte believes strip-till makes sense for Seltzs' cropland. "Many of the soils in the Fort Dodge area are too heavy, too wet and too cold for no-till farming," he said. "We like to recommend no-till to our clients, but no-till works best in lighter, well drained soils. Where there are cooler, poorly drained soils like those found in much of Webster County, we will likely recommend strip-till as a component of a farm's resource management system."
Seltz has been farming since 1974 and lives in Clare. His brother, Kirk, joined the operation in 1984. They raise corn and soybeans and are a custom hog finisher with 1200 head. They plan on strip-tilling 90 percent of their land next year. Hog manure will be injected into the remaining crop ground.
"We were raised up on conservation," said Seltz. "Dad brought us up on ridge-till. When my dad was a SWCD commissioner, the district bought a ridge-till planter and cultivator. Now, with strip-till, I am continuing my in dad's tradition."
Seltz says research tells him there will be no yield drag with strip-till. He expects yields to be very close to conventional tillage in normal years and better in dry years. In wet years, Seltz said, "Strip-till will allow me to get into my fields faster with greatly reduced compaction. Strip-till fields drain better because of the earth worm activity and we will have the added bonus of not creating a hard pan."
Schulte encourages farmers to look at strip-till and see if it will work for them and their land. "Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) money may be available to help producers offset strip-till costs," said Schulte. "There is also state assistance available in some counties. Total financial assistance can be as high as $19,600 over three years, but producers should check with their local NRCS office for details."
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