Strip-tilled corn averaged 6 bushels per acre more than no-tilled corn in 2010 onfarm demonstration trials at the Conservation Cropping Systems Project, a 160-acre no-till research farm near Forman, N.D.

“Some varieties had a much higher response and one actually had a negative response,” says Kelly Cooper, the CCSP farm manager, in his recap of the 2010 growing season.

“I never thought when we first did this last year that variety would make such a difference. There were two reps for each variety and in each rep the varieties expressed similar results.”

Corn had a good start in the 2010 growing season, but a cold spell in May caused problems. The combination of planting dates, variety and soil drainage caused dramatic yield swings.

“Another surprise at CCSP was the bio strip-till,” Cooper says. “Two of the three plots were the fifth and sixth highest-yielding plots. We’ve been working with various cover-crop scenarios over the last couple years and thought the bio strip-till was intriguing.

“The KH rotation is soybeans-winter wheat-corn,” he added. “We decided to plant radishes in 30-inch rows following winter harvest along, with peas planted between the radish rows in August 2009.

“The soybean units could not be slowed down enough to plant a reasonable rate of radish, so the radishes were very thick. The units did a nice job of planting peas, so the population for them was good. In the spring of 2010, corn was planted into the radish rows.

“The radish plants had completely decayed by planting. Some pea residue was evident. The third plot that did not yield exceptionally well was wet with some drown out. We are excited to try and expanded amount of bio-strip till plots with the possibility of some dedicated planting-fertilizer equipment.”