Strip-till certainly isn’t a secret or new concept. For more than 20 years, Charlie Hammer and his wife Nancy Kavazanjian, have been strip-tilling corn on their nearly 1,900 acres near Beaver Dam, Wis.

While the practice is enhancing the microbial life in their soils and helping get the most out of his somewhat rocky fields, Hammer admits that he doesn’t have all the answers.

During a recent visit to his farm, Hammer told Strip-Till Strategies that he’s still looking for the perfect strip-till unit and doesn’t mind trading equipment and tinkering until he finds the right fit. But he isn’t alone in his quest.

Throughout the course of trying several combinations of strip-till bars and row units from a variety of manufacturers — with a range of success — he’s been able to bounce ideas off an informal online network of growers known as the ‘PoDirtFarmers.’

“It’s kind of like our secret society,” Hammer says of the group, which was organized by an Iowa strip-tiller.

At last count, the group had about 50 members, according to Hammer.

On occasion, farmers will meet in person at an organized event, but Hammer says being able to communicate online and share equipment photos and set-up strategies is a valuable resource.

“It’s nice to see what some other guys are doing in their areas” he says.

This spring, Hammer is modifying a Wil-Rich strip-till bar to accommodate 24 Orthman row units to freshen up the strips he made in the fall.

Will it be the combination Hammer has been seeking? We’ll check back with him later this spring and find out.

In he meantime, if strip-tillers are going to succeed in assembling the perfect strip-till unit, building a strong network that nurtures creativity and innovation is a step in the right direction.

What kinds of topics would you like to see tackled at Strip-Till Strategies? Send me an e-mail or call (262) 782-4480, ext. 441.