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.
In principal, the benefits of reducing tillage and introducing cover crops seems intuitive. But, for farmers like Osage, Iowa, strip-tiller Wayne Fredericks, it’s important to textualize these benefits with research, data and his checkbook.
Holding plants accountable for their yield promise requires an understanding of how fertilizer timing, placement and performance intersect with root structure and development, according to veteran agronomist Mike Petersen.
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.
As a strong proponent of “regenerative agriculture” — which Rod Sommerfield explains is proper residue management that recycles the carbon and other nutrients in the residue back to the following crops — his hopes for the future of the farm that’s been in his family since 1892 are bold.
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.
For more than a quarter of a century, the National No-Tillage Conference has been providing the practical tips and information you need to run a more successful no-till operation. In our 30th anniversary year, we’re ready to do it again as our event returns to beautiful downtown Louisville, Ky., at the legendary Galt House Hotel.
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.