It's clear from the introductions at farm shows over the last few years that strip-till is growing in use. Tilling the soil only in narrow strips for a faster warm-up of the soil in the spring, strip-till is offering growers of all types a reduced-pass tillage system that allows them to manage increased corn residue without burying it.
For conventional (full-tillage) farmers, strip-till helps bridge the psychological divide that some face about making the switch to no-till.
There’s general agreement that strip-till is gaining adopters from conventional-, minimum- and no-till managers alike. But because federally funded acreage studies are no longer conducted, it’s been difficult to get one’s hands around the current acreage, where it’s coming from and its potential growth.
No-Till Farmer recently conducted primary research of state agronomists on strip-till corn acreage estimations for 2007. From this survey data and the subsequent data analysis conducted by Dan Towery of Ag Conservation Solutions (ACS), Lafayette, Ind., it was concluded that 3.6 million corn acres were strip-tilled in 2007, or roughly 19% of the nation’s no-till corn acreage.
Table 1 shows that the biggest concentration of strip-till is in the Corn Belt (1.76 million acres), followed by the Northern Plains (823,500 acres). Currently, the top five strip-till states for corn acreage are Nebraska (600,000 acres); Iowa (530,000 acres); Illinois (480,000 acres); Indiana (310,000 acres); and Ohio (270,000 acres).
On a percentage penetration basis, adoption among corn growers is most prevalent in southern states such as Alabama, Texas, South…