Joshua McGrath

Many strip-tillers consider precise fertilizer application a foundational element of their systems. They seek ways to more efficiently and effectively place nutrients, where they are most accessible to growing plants.

Variable-rate nutrient application still an emerging practice, embraced by about 40% of farmers responding to past Strip-Till Farmer benchmark studies. But what are the secrets to overcoming adoption obstacles and bringing variable-rate from a technology on the brink to a mainstream tool?

"The scale at which we should manage nutrients remains much smaller than the scale at which we do manage nutrients,” says University of Kentucky associate professor and soil management specialist Joshua McGrath. “Generally, research indicates that scale should be about 2 corn plants for nitrogen management. That means switching rate every 14 inches.”

During the keynote dinner presentation at the 2018 National Strip-Tillage Conference, July 26-27 in Iowa City, Iowa, McGrath will discuss ongoing research into variable-rate technology, including creating the optimal conditions for creating fertility prescriptions for maximum plant response.

The 5th annual National Strip-Tillage Conference will be held at the Marriott Coralville Hotel & Conference Center and feature 2 days of strip-till education through an array of thought-provoking general sessions, strategy-packed strip-till classrooms and highly collaborative strip-till roundtable discussions.

A $25.00 Early Bird Registration discount is available through May 30, and attendees who register their farm and family members receive additional savings. For more information and to register for the conference, visit

Title sponsors making the learning and networking opportunities possible for strip-tillers include AgroLiquid, Copperhead Ag, Dawn Equipment Co., Environmental Tillage Systems, Ingersoll Tillage Group, Kuhn Krause, Montag Mfg., Schlagel Manufacturing, Thurston Mfg. (Blu-Jet), Topcon Agriculture, Vulcan Equipment and Yetter Mfg.