25 Tips to Improve Spring Strip-Till

Experienced strip-tillers, educators and manufacturers share practical and progressive advice on building a better berm, nutrient application considerations and proper row unit setup.

Spring strip-till can be both a choice and a necessity. While the benefits of fall-applied fertilizer and giving berms several months to settle ahead of planting are preferred by many strip-tillers, a properly-executed spring system can create an ideal seedbed.

Results of Strip-Till Farmer’s most recent annual benchmark study revealed that about 25% of respondents strip-tilled exclusively in the spring, and another 21% said they strip-till in both spring and fall. About two-thirds may refresh fall-built strips in spring.

So what is the secret to successful spring strip-till? We surveyed experienced spring strip-tillers and solicited advice from equipment manufacturers and academic researchers to get their top takeaways for a successful spring strip-till program.

  1. The time needed between stripping and planting can vary widely based on soil moisture and tilth. Sometimes it's better to plant within a day or two when it is damper and other times it is better to wait couple weeks. You just have to experiment and learn your soils.
  2. Ensure that after a spring strip-till pass, the planter is able to run smoothly on the freshly constructed berm. This berm must be higher than the soil out of the berm, but not more than 1 inch higher. 
  3. Crop rotation can hold the key to the timing of a strip-till pass. With corn going into soybean stubble, there should be no significant differences between fall and spring strip-tilling. But with high-yielding continuous corn in the Corn Belt, consider strip-tilling in the spring, often as early as mid-March, especially…
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