Strip till for field crop production
The power requirement of strip-till equipment varies depending on the equipment design, number of row units, components used, soil properties, shank depth, field conditions and operator adjustments. The power requirement listed in the equipment specifications by several strip-till equipment manufacturers ranges from 12 to 30 horsepower per row unit. However, since only about one-third of the field surface is tilled with strip-till equipment, the energy requirement is less than with conventional tillage systems.
Strip Till and GPS Guidance
Accurate equipment guidance is important for strip tillage and the subsequent planting and spraying operations, particularly in irregularly shaped fields. Strip-tillage machines can be equipped with markers to facilitate accurate spacing of rows on each new round in the field, or global positioning system (GPS) guidance can be used without markers. GPS positioning accuracy of greater than 6 inches pass-to-pass is recommended. Real-time kinematic differential correction (RTK) GPS is recommended for positioning accuracy for strip tilling.
Crop Production With Strip Till
Strip-till systems move crop residue from the soil surface over the seedbed, resulting in soil temperatures similar to conventional tillage systems. No-till systems leave residue on the soil surface over the seedbed, resulting in lower soil temperatures compared with tilled soil. University of Minnesota research in southern Minnesota (Stahl, DeJong-Hughes) shows an aggressive strip-till machine can clear away sufficient residue to promote soil warming similar to moldboard plowing in a continuous corn rotation.
In a corn-soybean rotation, soil temperatures were similar for strip till and chisel plow and lower for no till. Similarly, research in the Red River Valley (Prosper, N.D., and Moorhead, Minn.) in 2007 indicated comparable temperatures between conventional tillage and strip till (Overstreet et al., 2007). The soil temperature advantage with strip till compared with no till promotes faster plant emergence and development. This advantage is enhanced when soil temperatures are lower and approach the lower threshold for crop seed germination.
For example, early planted strip-till corn or soybeans likely will emerge sooner than in a no-till system. Earlier plant establishment normally increases crop yield and quality. Earlier emergence and stand establishment also promotes earlier crop canopy closure, reducing mid- and late-season weed seed germination, and providing a better chance for young plants to establish and withstand disease and insect pressure.
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