The most popular content of 2021 on features videos about starting a custom strip-till business, a podcast discussion with Gary Zimmer and an article about strip-tilling all-star David Hula.

As the 2022 planting season looms, the digital media team at Strip-Till Farmer has once again checked the invisible digital scoreboard to recommend the stories you need before you get busy.

Did your favorite piece make the list?

     Top 5 Feature Articles     

Strip-Tilling Toward New Corn Yield Thresholds

In our most popular long-form article on the site, David Hula talks about even emergence, nutrient management and sampling corn tissue.

The ‘Grandfather’ of Strip-Till Talks Transition and Technique

The second-most popular piece was a discussion between Strip-Till Farmer Editor Frank Lessiter and strip-till legend Rich Follmer.

Follmer talked about getting double-digit yield boosts on the back of his transition to strip-tilling the soil of his Hudson, Ill., farm.

Synergizing Soil Health, Equipment & Technology

The third most popular article of 2021 covers Brian and Craig Newcombe’s innovations to keep their 225-year legacy family farm and dairy competitive. Those innovations include switching to strip-till to counter the precipitation-heavy Nova Scotia fall and a 9-way cover crop mix seeded immediately after harvest. 

Down Force and How It Impacts the Structure of Your Furrow

A series about planter maintenance sponsored by Precision Planting took the fourth most popular spot in 2021.

The piece covers how to read furrows to tell if down force is set too light, too heavy or just right with illustrations.

15 Time, Money & Stress-Saving Strip-Till Planting Tips

A perennial compilation of useful tips for managing the planting phase of a strip-till operation rounds out the top five feature stories for 2021. 

For example: for strip-tillers who prefer the spiked closing wheels, using two of them might be too aggressive for certain soil types — to the point they’re actually drying the ground out.

     Top 5 News Articles    

U.S. Potash Project to Reduce Reliance on Foreign Imports

Input costs climbed, then soared over the course of the year, driven in part by then-pending U.S. sanctions against Belarus.

In response, the Michigan Potash & Salt Company announced a new manufacturing facility located in Central Michigan.

Given rising potassium (K) and nitrogen (N) costs, little surprise that the story captured readers’ attentions.

USDA to Offer New Insurance for ‘Split-Applied’ Nitrogen

Growers flocked to read the announcement of crop insurance for split-nitrogen (N), making it the second most-read news article from 2021.

The USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) put out the announcement of another way to mitigate risk in what was shaping up to be not 1 but 2 years of uncertainty in the agribusiness world.

Lessons Learned from 2012 Drought Could Mitigate 2021 Issues for Strip-Tillers

Amid the uncertainty this year was widespread concern about the weather.

While 2021 never officially reached drought in most parts of the country, it was unexpectedly dry.

Amid the concern, Andrew Badger, a researcher at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, and Tony Vyn, Purdue University professor of cropping systems each addressed the issue. 

Precision Planting Unveils New Row Cleaner

Precision Planting issued a press release in August announcing that it was offering a new spin on an old classic.

While most row cleaners have been unit-mounted for years, the new frame-mounted product reduces possible interference with down-force settings.

Tri-State Fertilizer Recommendations Updated

In December 2020, Ohio State University updated fertilizer recommendations first published in 1995.

     Top 5 Staff Blogs     

Customizing Strip-Till as a Systematic Service

Custom strip-tilling is a great way to test the practice. Besides providing cost-effective services, custom strip-tillers can add soil health improvements.

What’s the Main Ingredient in Your Strip-Till Recipe?

This blog from April examined the results of the 2021 Strip-Till Benchmark Study.

Diversity among tools and techniques was one of the key takeaways, which compares to cooking the right recipe.

Sticking with the Strip-Till Playbook in a Spring of Adversity

2021 began with a rough spring for growers in parts of the country as a late frost event occurred in May.

Strip-tiller and 2021 Strip-Till Innovator Award Winner Ben Pederson. Pederson shared insights on the wonky weather and explained why he re-planted some of his acres.

On-Farm Trials Provide Opportunities to Learn, Improve

While industry or university data can appear to be the final word on farm research, nothing beats boots on the ground, or in this case, tires in the furrows.

A row-distance trial implemented by Ryan Nell, a Beaver Dam, Wis., strip-tiller. was a great casew in point.

“It’s important to always try new things,” Ryan says.

Building Stronger Communities through Ag Innovation

In one example of rural innovation, strip-tiller Zack Smith launched an idea aimed at boosting livestock integration into row crops.

His innovation was put a livestock pen and on wheels, allowing it to be repositioned, and boosting soil diversity and manure benefits along with it.

     Top 5 Podcasts     

Biological Farming with Gary Zimmer

Gary Zimmer discussed his approach to “biological farming.”

Zimmer discussed different types of carbon, avoiding disturbing the soil and neutral pH fertilizers.

Understanding The Carbon Cycle With Don Reicosky

The June 16 episode of the Strip-Till Farmer Podcast, was a discussion with renowned soil scientist and speaker Don Reicosky.

Reicosky investigated carbon cycles, inspired by observing high carbon dioxide release following traditional plowing.

Building Soil Health and Profitability with Strip-Till

On the July 20 episode of the Strip-Till Farmer Podcast, we spoke with Jon Stevens, who farms about 700 acres in Rock Creek, Minn.

Stevens talked about his systematic approach to building soil health.

Breaking Through Yield Barriers with Strip-Till Part 1

Hula talked about how switching to strip-till in 2018 from no-till was informed by weighing operational challenges, economic gains and grow potential.

Jason Federer’s Organic Modified Strip-Till System

Wolcott, Ind. grower Jason Federer spoke about using 10 crops each plus covers.

Federer plants corn between strips, is increasing the amount of sunflowers he’s planting and adjusting the density of his cereal rye.

     Top 5 Videos     

Getting a Custom Strip-Till Business Started

In February, Brown County Land & Water Conservation agronomist Brent Petersen and Mike Pribyl, a Green Bay, Wis., strip-tiller, talked about increaseing the amount of strip-tilling and how to leverage custom operations to build strip-till practices.

Transitioning into Strip-Till: 15 Years Later

Minnesota strip-tiller Karl Gossel talked about beginning the practice in the early 2000s and says it has led to increased soil health.

Strip-Till & Spring Planting 2021 Recap

Ryan Nell was on video in May talking about planting in his 2,200 acre operation.

Nell has been working soybean on fall strips since 2015.

2020 marked a full commitment to strip-tilling for both corn and beans for Nell.

Picking the Right Residue Management Tool for Strip-Till

Nell returned to screens later in May to discuss residue management.

Without appropriate tires and corn heads, residue can lead to plugging during planting.

How to Set Up Your Strip-Till Guidance Lines on Headlands

Nell also appeared in the fifth-most viewed video of 2021, also in May.

Nell talked about maintaining RTK consistency on headlands. 

     Top EGuide Download     

33 Ways to Build and Maintain a Superior Strip-Till System

The most popular e-guide of the year was a collection of tips to help with equipment, nutrient management and other essential crop categories.