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5 Efficiency Enhancing Tips for Strip-Till Nutrient Management

Nebraska strip-tiller, Brian Herbek, shares how he’s been able to extract 30% more bushels per acre out of each pound of applied nitrogen.


Pictured Above: Y-DROPPING. Brian Herbek is a firm believer in split applications. In the fall, he places “non-leachables” like P, K, zinc and sulfur. In the spring, he’ll refresh his strips, place his base N in dry urea and micronutrients. From there, he’ll sidedress as needed and run from 15-50 gallons (depending on need) of N through Y-drops in a late season application

When it comes to nutrient management, Deweese, Neb., farmer Brian Herbek lives by the 4R philosophy.

As a fifth-generation farmer on a dryland and irrigated 1,900-acre corn-soybean operation, he’s focused on slowly evolving his practices over the years to become more efficient. After trying ridge-tilling, conventional tilling and no-tilling, he eventually hit on strip-tilling in 2009 and hasn’t looked back. 

“I tried it on about one-third of my acres and by that fall, we saw the benefits and went to 100% of our acreage the next year,” says Herbek. “We got the stands and yield we wanted, but a lot of what convinced us was the reduced time and manpower needed in the fields.”

With freed up time and targeted tillage, Herbek began to focus on nutrient management. With the right strategy, he was confident he could save money on inputs, conserve moisture and improve soil health.  

“I’ve been able to move my nitrogen (N) efficiency from 1.1 pounds of applied N per bushel to below 0.7 pounds on my best fields,” he says. “A lot of that is due to the split applications I’m doing, and…

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Iangronau

Ian Gronau

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.

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