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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.”
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.