Strip Till Vs. No-Till?

While some readers feel fall or spring strip-tilling can overcome concerns about no-tilling corn, others aren’t so sure that this is always the very best way to get the job done. Besides using no-till, many attendees at the National No-Tillage Conference in Cincinnati felt using residue conditioning machines could help expand the effectiveness of no-tilling corn.

To show how strip tilling can help overcome wet and cold conditions often found with no-till, the Illinois Department of Agriculture launched a 3- to 5-year “Save Our Illinois Soils” project to examine the pros and cons. Unfortunately, 2000 wasn’t a good year for evaluating this no-tilling alternative as soil conditions were almost perfect for seeding last spring.

Evaluated At 12 Locations.

Results at a dozen locations throughout Illinois indicated only a very minimal yield difference when comparing strip-till, mulch-till and no-till in the same fields:

  • Strip-till averaged 154.8 bushels per acre.
  • No-till averaged 154.9 bushels per acre.
  • Mulch-till averaged 158.5 bushels per acre.

Yet even with similar yield results, no-tilled corn averaged $2.01 more net income per acre despite yielding about the same as strip-till and 3.6 bushels per acre less than mulch-till.

Even without turning in significant yield differences, no-till and strip-till are definitely better for the environment than conventional tillage methods.

More Acres Of Reduced Tillage.

In fact, one of the project goals is to increase the adoption rate of conservation tillage acres in order to overcome sedimentation concerns in Illinois.

“We’ve very concerned,” says Alan Gulso, water quality coordinator with…

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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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