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Here’s our question of the week:
Q: We often hear of no-tillers struggling with soil stratification — the accumulation of fertilizer in the surface. Has stratification been a problem with any of you for strip-till corn? Or do you think strip-till is the solution to the soil stratification challenge?
A: Yes, strip till improves the stratification problem, especially compared to no-till.
- Paul Groneberg, Hoffman, Minn.
A: The entomologist at our farm show had a great 15 minute spiel about worms and how they move nutrients up and down in the soil.
The Hefty brothers had a great example several years ago of manure being injected in the soil, much like our strip-till units would be putting fertilizer down, and you could see at the depth of application the richness in the soil. They also did a 1-inch increment soil test, and when you got down to that zone the soil tests really improved vs. no-till or conventional-till methods that broadcast fertilizer on top.
I think there is also a big difference between no-till and soil health no-till. There is a lot of dead non-functioning dirt in no-till because it's just a corn-bean rotation with no cover crops, and still just pouring on all the chemicals, herbicides and fungicides. With soil health no-till, I would expect that the life in the soil would be helping move the nutrients? We know soil life and cover crops are going to build a natural fertility in the soil, and they're going to do it down lower where there is moisture in the soil.
- Jon Stevens, Rush City, Minn.
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