By Sonja Begemann, Farm Journal Seeds and Crop Production Editor
For the past 20 years, one central Illinois farm family has used strip till to help improve soil and avoid runoff. To maximize efficiency and yields, they use a unique fertilizer system on their fields that helps save money, time and boost yield.
Brian Ryberg may be a relative newcomer to strip-till, but you’d be hard pressed to find a farmer more committed to it. Ryberg Farms near Buffalo Lake, Minn., raising corn, soybeans and sugarbeets. He began farming with his father more than 30 years ago and now runs the operation with his wife and two employees.
The new 3-point mounted Gladiator 1205M offers the superior strip tillage performance expected from Kuhn Krause equipment, incorporating several new features that increase productivity and decrease machine maintenance, while improving agronomic performance and exceeding customer expectations.
For some farmers, harvest season is not complete until the soil has been turned and a fresh blanket of black soil covers the land, ready for the next growing season. The smell of fresh soil and a sense of pride in a freshly tilled field are often the factors driving a farm’s tillage system. Is this really the best way maintain and improve soil health and crop productivity?
Given all the excessive rain and cool temperatures this spring in northern Indiana, there was some concern about how no-till and strip-till corn yields would end up at the end of the season. Well, the results from the 41st year of our long-term tillage plots near West Lafayette, Ind., are in and they tell an interesting story.
How does style of tilling make a difference in crop success? The blades on a till don’t simply chop up soil and move it around. They blend dead plant material left from harvest into the soil. They also expose wetter soil to the air and loosen it.
The environmental effects of agricultural production, e.g., soil erosion and the loss of sediment, nutrients, and pesticides to water, can be mitigated using conservation practices. Some practices are more widely adopted than other practices; no conservation practice has been universally adopted by U.S. farmers.
Strip-till is emerging as a complementary farming practice to some dairy operations throughout the U.S., especially as conservation and environmental awareness become increasingly important parts of sustainable farming.
As precision farming practices continue to infiltrate more farms overall, technology is an essential part of strip-tillers’ operations. Talking with farm equipment dealers, several have cited strip-till products as an emerging opportunity to complement sales of GPS systems and RTK subscriptions.
By Cecilia Parsons on behalf of Sustainable Conservation
As the California drought continues, higher yields per acre, coupled with the critical need to use water more efficiently, are making silage and alfalfa growers take another look at both subsurface and ground level drip irrigation solutions for their crops.