Just 3 years after graduating from Cornell University, 24-year-old farmer Joe Brightly of Hamlin, N.Y., loves the benefits of switching to strip-till and complementing it with cover crops. You can read more about how Joe and his father have adopted strip-till and cover crops in the lead story of this issue of Strip-Till Strategies.
For some farmers and researchers, using any cover crops with strip-till constitutes “bio strip-till.” For others, “bio strip-till” is using a cover crop like radish that decomposes and leaves a void to mimic the tilled strip that knives or coulters on a strip-till rig create.
And for still others, “bio strip-till” means seeding annual ryegrass into standing crops late in the summer and then taking out a 10-inch strip in the fall with a strip-till rig. In the spring, they burn down the remaining ryegrass that over wintered.
The August 2011 issue of Conservation Tillage Guide magazine included a feature story on “bio strip-till” and, based on the interest I’ve seen since then, combining cover crops with strip-till will likely continue to increase.
If you’re using “bio strip-till” or have questions about this practice, let me know what you’re doing or what you want to know before you try this. You can email your insight and photos and questions to me firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 503-507-4423. We’ll share your experience in future issues of Strip-Till Strategies.