When it comes to saving money, strip-tiller David Legvold has a nugget to share.
After the Northfield, Minn., strip-tiller shared results of the research on nitrogen response in strip-tilled corn that he completed in 2012, I asked about his fuel use for strip-till vs. conventional tillage.
The difference was so stark I crunched the numbers again and then another time, just to make sure.
“I’m using 0.6 gallons of diesel per pass of strip-till when I band fertilizer,” Legvold says. “For the 131 acres that I strip-tilled this fall, my Raven monitor says I used just 81 gallons of fuel. I’m strip-tilling at 7 to 7.5 mph, covering about 20 acres in an hour.”
Legvold says it’s important to remember that after one-pass strip-tilling and banding fertilizer with his ETS Soil Warrior, the ground is ready to plant. No more passes are required to ready the planting environment.
“Years ago, when I plowed fields and then field cultivated them twice and then knifed in anhydrous, my fuel consumption was 6 to 9 gallons per acre,” Legvold says. “If I were still doing that today, I would have used 786 to 1,179 gallons for the same 121 acres. Instead, by strip-tilling, I used 78.6 gallons of diesel.”
The cost savings on just 131 acres is staggering. At $4 gallon diesel, Legvold’s strip-till fuel usage of 0.6 gallons per acre totals $314. But with his previous conventional-tillage system, the fuel consumption of 6 to 9 gallons per acre would have cost him $3,144 to $4,716.
How does your fuel use with strip-till compare with other tillage systems you’ve used for corn — whether it’s no-till, conventional tillage or other systems? Let me know by e-mailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call me at (503) 507-4423.