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Many no-tillers are thinking about short-season crops, forage and ground covers, and some of those growers turned to Farmer’s Forum, the online bulletin board at www.no-tillfarmer.com, for advice from folks with experience in similar situations. Here are highlights from their discussions.
I’m thinking about no tilling wheat into wheat stubble. Are there any pros or cons about doing this, and how well does it really work? I will be no-tilling after first-year wheat.
I tried this when no-tilling was just starting to be promoted in the early 1990s. It planted well, but it was terrible when it was cut. I had some again this year, and it didn’t look bad, but the stand was uneven. If you’re doing it, I suggest selecting a different variety with the best disease rating.
Volunteer wheat is also a problem; hold off on a burndown spraying as long as possible to get the best results. Chances are you will have to spray twice anyway.
Recropping wheat is risky business, especially if you’re no-tilling. You open yourself up to disease and grassy weed problems, but you can probably get by for 1 year. The troubles get worse the longer you’re in wheat. If you do recrop, spray out any grassy weeds and volunteer wheat a couple of weeks before you seed, if possible, to reduce the so called “green bridge” effect that lets diseases go from one year to the next. You’ll need more fertilizer, too.