Stripping Away No-Till Soil Concerns

While strip-till can often overcome wet and cold soil problems, there’s no reason to consider the expense and time involved if no-till corn is working for you.

With some midwestern no-tillers facing concerns with cold and wet soils, building fall strips may be a good way to dry out and warm up these problem soils before no-tilling in the spring.

“One of the ways that I think strip-tilling is going to be an advantage is when no-till doesn’t work,” says Missy Arends, a field agronomist with The Andersons farm supply and grain handling company at Maumee, Ohio, and a former Purdue University graduate student. “If no-till is working on your farm, I see no reason for strip-till or a conventional type of tillage system.”

Strip-Till Strategies

When it comes to listing the benefits of strip-tilling, Jim Kinsella maintains it’s important to apply nitrogen early. The veteran no-tiller from Lexington, Ill., has been fall strip-tilling for a number of years.

“It is important to get nitrogen out there early with corn,” he says. “If you don’t strip-till in the fall, apply nitrogen starter when you are planting.”

However, he indicates that applying too much potash in the strip-till mound can limit yields. Another key to strip-till success is to spray winter annual weeds in a timely matter. And if you don’t get your strips built in the fall, simply no-till in the spring and avoid building spring strips.

Using a Global Positioning System, Kinsella no-tills corn directly into the fall-built strips and a stabilizing coulter helps keep the no-till planter centered on the strips. He recommends using minimum down pressure when building mounds in the fall.

“Most people…

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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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