Growers need to understand that strip-till equipment is unique. It may function flawlessly in mellow soils that break and crumble in textbook fashion. In other conditions, the strip-till unit may need to function as a primary tillage tool operating in hard, compacted soils that are wet, rock and stone infested, and are nearly impossible to break into manageable pieces.
Before heading into the fields each season, strip-tillers should make sure their rigs are in working order — inspecting everything from the fertilizer hoses to the row units — because worn parts can lead to in-field breakdowns.
One of the ways growing numbers of farmers around the world are helping ensure the sustainability of their land for future generations is through conservation tillage practices such as no-till and strip-till.
More no-tillers are finding fertilizing and tilling a 6- to 8-inch narrow band of soil in the fall and planting into this strip the following spring definitely boosts corn yields. They find fall strip-tilling gives a warmer, mellower soil when no-tilling corn, plus it allows them to apply most of their phosphorus and potassium along with nitrogen in the fall.
As federal and state government begins to take action to monitor and prevent fertilizer runoff into watersheds — especially in the Great Lakes region — some farmers see strip-till as a preventative measure.
The number of strip-till users in the Red River Valley of North Dakota continues to grow slowly. A tip from a veteran strip-tiller near Fargo is to follow the combine whenever possible to make sure the strips are made if the soils become wet later in the fall.
Strip-tillage is defined as less than full-width tillage of varying intensity that is conducted parallel to the row direction. Generally no more than one-fourth of the plow layer is disturbed by this practice.