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.
For farmers curious about the benefits of reducing their tillage practices, custom strip-till can be an efficient and affordable entry point. For farmers already building strips every year, it can be a lucrative business opportunity.
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.
Looking to emphasize and expand conservation tillage practices in east-central Wisconsin, Brent Petersen, agronomist with Brown County Land & Water Conservation and Mike Pribyl, strip-tiller based in Green Bay, Wis., discuss their combined efforts educating local growers on the value of combining conservation practices and leveraging custom strip-till as an entry point.
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.