The last few years have prompted some strip-tillers to reevaluate their crop rotation and adjust to the fluctuating commodity market. Talking with a few farmers, they acknowledged making some pre-season planting decisions based in part on the price of corn and soybeans.
But when asking the same farmers if they planned to adjust the number of acres they strip-till based on a change to their crop rotation, they didn’t see the need. A handful of farmers opting to plant soybeans after corn, rather than corn-on-corn, said they’d never strip-tilled the legume.
They were experienced strip-tillers and confident enough in their system to make the transition earlier than initially planned. A recent article from The Soy Report offers 5 considerations before switching from corn to soybeans, including cost of production, weather outlook and seed genetics.
These are talking points that tend come up in crop rotation conversations with strip-tillers and it appears they are, for the most part, manageable variables. Preliminary analysis of survey data for the 2017 Strip-Till Practices Operational Benchmark study reveals about a 12% increase in the total number of acres strip-tilled by respondents in 2016 — about 470,000.
This includes a 17-acre increase in the average number of acres of strip-tilled corn per farm (876) and soybeans (430), compared to 2015. So even as strip-tillers adjust their crop rotation, they also appear to be adding strip-till acres to their operation.
So is this increase in acreage translating to higher yields? Find out in full coverage and analysis of the 2017 benchmark study, appearing in the August issue of No-Till Farmer’s Conservation Tillage Guide.
Until then, what adjustments have you made to your strip-till crop rotation and why? Share your story with me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 262-777-2441.