Returning from this year’s National Strip-Tillage Conference (NSTC) in Omaha, Neb., I always appreciate the new connections made at each event, and especially with those attendees who are new to strip-till.

This year, one of our speakers — University of Illinois crop physiology research specialist Tryston Beyrer, who is studying under Fred Below — brought two graduate students with him to the conference. While Beyrer has attended every NSTC, Scott Foxhoven from Wynot, Neb., and Eric Winans from Taylorsville, Ill., were first-timers.

Neither Foxhoven or Winans had much experience or exposure to strip-till, but have worked with Beyrer researching banded fertilizer applications. In talking with them during the event, it was interesting to get their perspective and takeaways.

Foxhoven, whose family operates a small row-crop operation using conventional-tillage practices, says they’re interested in transitioning to strip-till and he was impressed by a roundtable discussion rooted in the intricacies of maintaining a strip-till rig.

“Hearing about how strip-tillers modify or adjust, inch-by-inch, their row units was eye-opening,” he says. “I’m interested in knowing how to run a strip-till rig and learn more about some of the detail that goes into a successful system.”

Winans added that one of his primary objectives was to gain more insight into specific banding techniques strip-tillers are utilizing — what’s worked, what hasn’t and what other efficiencies they’re looking for to improve.

“Getting this feedback helps me decide what type of research I want to pursue in the future that is going to be impactful,” he says. “It’s interesting hearing about the preferences on setups an application techniques.”

Every year, I look forward to exchanging ideas with those conference attendees who are taking their first steps into strip-till, and also connecting them with veteran attendees like Beyrer, who willingly share their experience and insight.

It’s an encouraging trend and, one which I hope continues to grow in the coming years. Stay tuned for a continuing highlights and updates on the 4th Annual Strip-Tillage Conference throughout the year at