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Try These Proven Residue-Management Tricks

Regardless of where you farm or the crops you grow, study these solid residue management lessons from no-tillers growing high-yielding grain crops.

Just because you concentrate on no-tilling corn, soybeans or another crop doesn’t mean you can’t pick up plenty of yield-building residue management tricks from other growers. To do a better job of managing residues, check out how these eight Pacific Northwest and western Canadian growers go about managing residues for top profit.

Start At Harvest.

For Colby Johnson, residue management always starts right behind the combine. Relying on a fall wheat and summer-fallow rotation, the Cove, Ore., no-tiller says taking time to manage residue at harvest will eliminate future headaches.

“This is the most crucial step in the direct seeding process,” he says. “With effective spreader and chopper attachments, we get an even spread of residue early in the fall.”

After harvest, he uses a Phoenix rotary harrow to start breaking down residue in fields to be summer fallowed.

“Going through the winter with the stubble intact lets it collect snow and rain to trap moisture,’ adds Johnson, “By the following fall, our fields are soft and damp enough to germinate seed quickly. After coming out of winter and spring, we’ll wait until the heat of summer to mow our summer-fallowed fields to eliminate stubble. Then we will give the ground another pass or two with the Phoenix harrow before seeding in the fall.”

Two-Pass System.

Doug Lusig uses a Degelman harrow to handle post-harvest residue. He uses the harrow in heavy residue fields, often making two passes 4 to 7 days apart.

The Cottonwood, Idaho, no-tiller finds harrowing shatters…

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Frank Lessiter

Frank Lessiter has served as editor of No-Till Farmer since the publication was launched in November of 1972. Raised on a six-generation Michigan Centennial Farm, he has spent his entire career in agricultural journalism. Lessiter is a dairy science graduate from Michigan State University.

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