Strip-Till Trial

5-Year Plot Research to Test Cover Crop, Strip-Till Combination

At Farmamerica in Waseca, Minn., site manager Gene Kuntz puts strip-till methods to the test, while seeking to be a local ambassador for the practice.

Strip-till experimentation often starts small and Gene Kuntz, site manager at Farmamerica, is looking to build a baseline of learning on the research farm’s 240-acre site  in Waseca, Minn.

Here, he has been involved in several strip-till trials. In 2018, they planted 15 acres of corn as part of the research plots and this will be strip-tilled for the next 5 years in a corn and soybeans rotation.

For their strip-till trials, they built fall strips with a 12-row Soil Warrior from Environmental Tillage Systems, about 8 inches wide and tilling 8 inches deep. When looking at the research plots, Kuntz examines soil health and soil structure for how it’s impacted by strip-till and no-till practices.

“By looking at these plots it’s not an issue of learning but looking at the proven facts,” he says. “There is an advantage if we utilize strip-till practices continuously as a way to improve soil health and reduce operational costs.”

Cutting Costs

Another area that Kuntz looks at is reducing cost of production. While looking over collected field data, he notices a common denominator while comparing conventional tillage and strip-till practices — particularly in reduced machinery costs, often as much as 30%, based on calculations from the Center for Farm Financial Management database.

“For instance, in Minnesota, I can sort based on corn and soybeans and also on strip-till and find the machinery cost breakdown for a 5-year period and compare those figures to conventional tillage and there’s a fairly dramatic difference in costs,”…

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Bridget Halat

Contributing Writer

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