Seeing topsoil and fertilizer washed away by a heavy spring downpour is an unsettling sight for farmers.
That’s something Lowpoint, Ill., strip-tiller Todd Mooberry has endured in the past and would like to avoid in the future. He admits that fighting Mother Nature on this front is a challenge, especially on his rolling acres.
“There’s a lot of concerns whether strip-till can work on those slopes and hills,” Mooberry says. “A couple years ago, I had to more intensively till some of our fields because heavy spring rains washed out our fall strips.”
Mooberry is looking for a middle ground between no-till and strip-till that can minimize erosion concerns and preserve soil structure. He typically runs two 8-row Orthman 1tRIPr strip-till rigs in the fall, which perform well on his flat ground. But he wants a more consistent strip-till solution on his rolling acres.
One option he’s exploring is deep placement of dry fertilizer with Yetter Magnum anhydrous coulters running at a slight angle. Mooberry’s objective to is place fertilizer 6 inches deep in the strip, using the low-disturbance machine, which would be more conducive to slopes.
“My plan is to build the strips a little rougher in fall, leaving more residue and not loosen the soil as much,” he says. “Then I’d come back and refresh the strips ahead of planting.”
Although he didn’t have a chance to run the row units this past fall, Mooberry plans to test Magnum setup in soybean stubble this spring and monitor the results throughout the growing season.
Ideally, Mooberry wants to use the less-invasive coulters for flexibility in the fall, and instill more confidence that his “beautiful fall strips” will survive and thrive on rolling ground until it’s time to plant into them.
“We have some options to deal with erosion,” he says. “I’m hopeful this is one that could work because the worst thing a strip-tiller can see is those fall strips get washed out in spring.”
How are you minimizing erosion concerns with strip-till? Join the discussion by contacting me at (262) 782-4480, ext. 441, or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.