Strip-till success doesn’t happen overnight, but chances of succeeding may well depend on the management and equipment decisions farmers make as they adopt the practice.
Strip-Till Farmer caught up with University of Minnesota Extension educator Jodi DeJong Hughes during the inaugural National Strip-Tillage Conference to glean advice on what farmers should know when adopting strip-till.
“Every field is different, and strip-tillers will learn this through experience,” she says. “But there are some things to think about no matter where you farm.”
Here’s a look at 20 tips and considerations DeJong-Hughes provided for strip-tillers — especially those just transitioning into the practice:
Know your fields. Soil type, crop rotation and moisture will help determine the right type of strip-till rig for your operation.
Determine how aggressive your strip-till rig should be, depending on your soils and crop rotation.
Good support is critical. Dealer or manufacturer reps are primary sources for selecting equipment setups to suit your fields.
Make sure you have an experienced operator when strip-tilling if you aren’t doing the work yourself. If you don’t keep rows straight, germination will suffer and that translates to lost yield.
Using precision technology like GPS, auto-steer and RTK are valuable tools to maintain accuracy when building strips, especially when applying fertilizer, so the planter can accurately place that seed in the fertility zone.
Strip-till success starts at harvest with the combine. Determine whether you want to chop or spread your corn stalks — this can depend on your crop rotation and residue-management strategies.