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Many no-tillers contacted by Conservation Tillage Guide say they don’t believe vertical-tillage practices are — in most situations or all of them — necessary or beneficial.
Some don’t feel no-tilled soils should be disturbed because of what could occur to soil structure, earthworms or microbial activity.
Others worry it could worsen erosion or over-process residue, or believe better planters or cover crops could get similar results.
Below you will find several responses from these no-tillers to our survey.
On the topic of vertical tillage I feel it’s not necessary. It might be a transition tool, but it’s still tillage. The less soil disturbance there is, the better on our soils.
Those that can spend $40,000 on one of these machines should spend it on a bigger drill and plant a cover crop.
I owned a Phoenix harrow and an AerWay and sold them both, and I’m never looking back. They find the rocks I forgot that I had.
— Lucas Criswell, Lewisburg, Pa., no-tiller
I see absolutely no use for any of the vertical-tillage tools I’ve seen at machinery shows or in advertisements.
They only increase investment and operating costs, and I see them only as a way for someone who feels that he must do something and isn’t quite ready to go full no-till.
If it’s a bit dry, they will only cause moisture loss and maybe chop up the residue a bit, only to watch it blow away…