Ian Gronau is a Contributing Editor for Lessiter Publications, with primary support responsibilities for Precision Farming Dealer, Strip-Till Strategies and the Strip-Till Farmer Website. He is a graduate of Chicago’s Columbia College and has been preparing content for magazines, websites and newspapers since 2009, and has been recognized with several awards.
Intentionally or not, farmers who’ve taken up strip-tilling have already made a commitment to rebuilding soil health. According to Rawson, Ohio, soil health expert Frank Gibbs, by being a bit more deliberate, strip-tillers can magnify the impact of their conservation efforts in ways that will show up on their bottom line.
Dresden, Ontario strip-tiller, Mark Richards, considers himself a “bleeding-edge” farmer in terms of adopting new strategies and precision equipment. His adoption and adaptation of technology has made his 3,000-acre corn, soybean, sugarbeet, wheat and tomato operation significantly more efficient, productive and profitable.
Montezuma, Kan., farmer Josh Koehn says attention to detail is really what’s made the difference on his 10,000 acre farm. Feeling the need to manage residue better and build healthier soils, he switched from full tillage to strip-till back in 2008 on most of his 30% irrigated and 70% dryland operation.
Often, it’s the allure of operation-wide cost reduction that convinces farmers to transition into strip-tilling. But, on Wallendal Farms, strip-tilling since 1985, they’ve found a way to push revenues in addition to enjoying the efficiencies.
"You can’t strip-till sugarbeets," is something Snover, Mich., farmer Ryan Shaw had grown accustomed to hearing. But, since introducing strip-till on his 1,400-acre corn, soybean and sugarbeet operation in 2014, a glance at his fields provides evidence to the contrary.
For the past 6 years, Seth Wenzel and his father, Brian, have been transitioning to strip-tilled corn on their 4,000-acre farm near Kent, in northwest Illinois. Wenzel maintains a consistent corn and soybean rotation with approximately two-thirds of his acreage planted with corn annually.
Mead, Neb., farmer Kerry Knuth, made the transition from dragging a disc ripper and mulch finisher across his 2,200-acre corn and soybeans operation to strip-tillage back in 2005. Though a “set it and forget it,” philosophy works on some farms, Knuth quickly determined that building an ideal berm required adaptation and experimentation to accommodate ever-changing field conditions.
Erosion control and banded nutrient placement are a couple of the reasons New Prague, Minn., strip-tiller Greg Entinger adopted strip-till in 2015. He shares some of the economic objectives and measurable returns he's seen with reduced fuel usage, selling full-width tillage equipment and fertilizer cost savings.
Kuhn Krause's focus, above all, is to continue to produce quality products to serve producers better; to strive to respond to their needs with new tools and new technology to meet their growing challenges. Agronomic practices are constantly changing, and at a faster pace now than ever.