The benefits of precision farming translate to multiple farming practices, but strip-till is often cited as a system in which technology is essential. Banding nutrients beneath the soil surface and accurately planting into a fertile seed bed are cornerstones of strip-till, enhanced by a reliable guidance technology.
Results of the No-Till Farmer’s 3rd Annual Strip-Till Operational Benchmark Study, which analyzed the 2015 cropping season, revealed an ongoing investment in RTK-level GPS correction services, variable-rate technology and implement guidance.
According to the survey of more than 400 strip-tillers throughout the U.S. and Canada more than 80% said they used RTK, up 10% from 2 years ago. Looking at the breakdown of GPS brand preference among respondents, John Deere topped the list for the third year in a row, with 43% using the system, up 5 points from 2014.
Second most popular was Trimble with about 23%, followed by Ag Leader at about 20%. The biggest year-over-year decline came in the number of strip-tillers using Case IH GPS from 15.5% in 2014 to 7.9% last year.
Another decline came in the percentage of strip-tillers who utilized implement guidance from 20% in 2013 to 17% last year. However, adoption of variable-rate fertilizing practices continued to increase among strip-tillers. Use increased in 2015 to about 43%, up from 36% in 2014 and 31% in 2013.
A further breakdown of survey respondents analyzed the top 10% of strip-tillers ranked by corn and soybean yields, and their usage of precision farming practices.
Adoption was higher among this group, with 97% utilizing RTK-level GPS correction on their operation, 46% using variable-rate fertilizing and 21% using implement guidance.
Consistent with the overall group, John Deere was the most commonly used brand of GPS, although by a wider margin with 61% of the top strip-tillers using the system.