Because a number of No-Till Farmer readers tell us that they often run into difficulties when no-tilling, we asked Howard Martin to address possible solutions to what he sees as the nine toughest no-till corn planting problems.
An Elkton, Ky., farmer with nearly 30 years of no-till experience, Martin is president of Martin Industries and the developer and manufacturer of the ground-driven rotary row cleaner and other no-till planter attachments.
Q: If my no-till planter coulters won’t cut residue and throw or smear wet soil, what should I do?
A: Remove the coulter and install finger wheel row cleaners. Coulters work well only when the trash and soil are both dry. By eliminating the restrictions caused by no-till coulters, you’ll have more hours available for no-tilling your crops between each rain.
Q: What can I do to avoid having my no-till row cleaners dig furrows in wet soil?
A: There are two types of row cleaners—fixed and floating. If you have a fixed type, set the fingers to engage the soil only enough to move the trash. The down pressure on the planting unit’s parallel arms should be reduced to the minimum that’s required to maintain seeding depth. Excessive pressure causes your planting units to sink in the softer parts of the field and carry the fixed row cleaner down with it, creating a furrow.
In variable soils, the fixed row cleaner tends to skip over some residue and dip into soil in other areas of the field even when…