Targeted Tillage and Nutrient Placement Bring Younger Farmers to Strip-Till

With favorable weather across much of the U.S. in fall of 2019 and spring of 2020, strip-tillers returned to more fall berm-building routines and focused on targeted nutrient management.

Pictured Above: CENTRAL STATES. The vast majority of Strip-Till Benchmark Study responses came from the Corn Belt (63.3%), but the plains and western states were also well represented cumulatively at 25%.

Results of the 8th annual Strip-Till Operational Practices Benchmark study suggest a “return to normal” for many strip-tillers whose fall berm-building plans were disrupted by wet weather in 2019.  

In the following pages, we compare and contrast equipment setups, berm-building preferences, nutrient management strategies and other practices strip-tillers are putting to work on their operations.

Berm Building

This industry-exclusive study evaluating 2020 strip-till practices found that while the percentage of growers building berms in the fall decreased from 46.1% in 2018 to 31.6% in 2019, the practice was back up to 43.1% in 2020 — but nowhere close to the 2017 high of 53.6%. 

Interestingly, spring strip-till also went up in 2020, though only slightly, from 33.6% in 2019 to 35.8%. Those who build berms in both fall and spring dropped to 21.1% in 2020 from 34.8% in 2019.

Overwhelmingly, strip-tillers favor 30-inch rows, with 84% of strip-tillers using that configuration. Twelve-row strip-till bars are most popular (38%), followed by 16-row (25%), 8-row (17%), 6-row (14%), and 24-row(5%). A majority (58%) are using shanks to build their strips, followed by a coulter system (40%) and mole knives (22%). 

Trending Younger

The majority of survey respondents hailed from the central U.S., with more than 60% located in the Corn Belt states. The Plains and Western states were also well-represented at…

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Julia gerlach web

Julia Gerlach

Julia Gerlach is the former Executive Editor of No-Till Farmer. She has a lengthy background in publishing and a longtime interest in gardening and mycology. She graduated with a B.A. in music and philosophy from Alverno College in Milwaukee, Wis.

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