2015 Strip-Till Operational Benchmark Study: Cover Crop Use Spreads for Strip-Tillers

Strip-till corn populations remain consistent, while soybean seeding rates decline and use of twin-row systems increases.

Timing, width and depth are all considerations strip-tillers take into account when building berms on their farm for seeding, the 2nd annual Strip-Till Operational Benchmark Study found.

Flexibility is often an asset as well. Some 34.9% of respondents to this year’s survey build strips in both spring and fall — a 5% increase over 2014.

The most popular time to build berms continued to be fall, with 38.6% of strip-tillers doing so after harvest — that’s down from 42% last year. The percentage of spring strip-tillers remained virtually the same at 30.7% this year, compared to 29% in 2014.

On average, farmers are building berms at the same depth, 7 inches, in this year’s survey as in 2014. But the average width of strips increased from 8 inches to 9 inches, year-over-year.

Also, there were fewer farmers who said they make a strip-freshening pass in the spring, with 7.3% doing so according to this year’s survey, compared to 10.7% in 2014. The same held true with the percentage of farmers who said they sometimes refresh strips in spring, dropping from 25% last year to 19.3% in the 2015 survey.

Taking Cover

Both first-hand comments from farmers and data from this year’s survey shows cover crops are an increasingly popular option in strip-till systems.

In 2014, 48.4% of strip-tillers said they planted cover crops in strip-tilled fields, an increase over the 44.1% who did so in 2013.

While these figures don’t yet compare to the 70% of no-tillers who planted covers…

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J_zemlicka

Jack Zemlicka

Jack Zemlicka is the Managing Editor for Strip-Till Farmer. Since he joined Lessiter Publications' Ag Division in 2012, he has covered precision farming practices, products and trends. He also serves as managing editor of Precision Farming Dealer, and technology editor of Farm Equipment and No-Till Farmer.

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