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Taking extra time this summer to give strip-till equipment and precison technology a thorough tuneup could make a big difference in yields and farm profitability next year, experts say.
Iowa strip-tiller Dave Nelson says his yields in 2013 will depend on how well he prepares his strip-till rig now for making strips, banding fertilizer and building berms this fall.
“Think about your 2013 harvest now,” says Nelson, who co-owns Fort Dodge, Iowa-based Brokaw Supply, which specializes in strip-till applicators. “That not only includes mechanical maintenance, but also upgrades and new technology, which can make strip-tilling work better and you more profitable.”
Nelson and his wife, Fonda, are partners in Nelson Family Farms with his parents, Gary and Karma Nelson. They grow 3,000 acres of corn and soybeans.
Strip-till rig preparation means more than examining and replacing metal components like bearings and coulters, Nelson says. It also requires checking fertilizer rate controllers, precision ag equipment and wiring.
In early June, employees at Brokaw Supply went over Nelson’s 12-row Blu-Jet strip-till rig and Montag dry fertilizer cart. But preparation for this fall began immediately after Nelson finished strip-tilling in fall 2011.
First, the crews use air to blow off the dust and dirt, then they power-wash the equipment and spray a mist of diesel fuel and/or WD-40 over the machine to keeps metal from corroding.
“Rust management is huge, especially when you’re applying dry fertilizer, which is very corrosive,” Nelson explains.
There are a number of obvious things to check on strip-till…