Tackling No-Till Wheat And Corn Rotation Concerns

Some no-tillers say to forget about no-tilling corn after wheat. Others have good ideas on making it work while others suggest moving to longer no-till rotations and growing other crops.

Selecting a proper crop rotation is critical for no-till success. When choosing a crop sequence, you must consider toxicity, climate, weed control, soil moisture, nutrient cycling concerns and many other critical factors.

Seeding equipment also plays a major role and can dramatically affect your no-till yields. When it comes down to it, the big question is, “How do various crops help or hinder my no-till operation?”

The pros and cons concerning crop 
rotations are debated on the No-Till Farmer Web site’s Online Forum at www.no-tillfarmer.com. Veteran no-tillers say one of the best ways to learn is from those who have already failed and succeeded.

Debate #1: Wheat Following Corn

My no-till yields for wheat following corn are less than with no-till wheat following cotton or soybeans. I attribute this to less residue on my soil surface from the latter two crops interfering with the no-till disc openers.

Other than not chopping corn stalks and drilling at an angle to the corn rows, how can I improve my no-till wheat stands? I’m no-tilling wheat for seed production and drilling 1.4 million seeds per acre. I treat the seed with fungicides and no-till 1.5-inches deep. In the fall before drilling, I apply a basic dry 23-60-80 fertilizer blend and a burndown of Roundup some 7 to 10 days before no-tilling. What modifications will improve the performance of my John Deere 750 no-till drill?

—Richard Jameson, 

Wheat yields are normally higher following a broadleaf crop like soybeans or cotton vs. corn or…

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