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Field conditions dictate proper use of no-till drill attachments, says Monsanto Conservation Tillage Specialist John Bradley. “The key is to be prepared when you no-till under different field conditions, different moisture conditions and different residue conditions,” says Bradley.
Bradley says the coulter should be used to cut through the residue and prepare only enough soil to ensure good seed-to-soil contact. He advises use of ripple, bubble or 25-wave coulters to avoid “chunking” the soil.
“You really only need coulters 50 percent to 75 percent of the time,” says Bradley. “You can make a mess with a coulter if soils are really wet. You do not need a coulter when soils are really wet.”
Bradley recommends running coulters 1-inch deep in normal or dry conditions to penetrate the soil and increase root depth. In wet conditions, he doesn’t run them deeper than double-disc openers.
In western Tennessee, residue easily breaks down and Bradley never sees more than a year and a half of residue on the soils. He runs residue removers ahead of all no-till planters.
“They are used to move residue away so you can have the benefit of warming the soil and giving your gauge wheel a smooth run,” he says. “You get the bounce out and get a good, uniform seed placement and uniform stands.”
Of course, pinpointing your soil type is the key to proper coulter use. “You can use a wide, more aggressive coulter to offset some of the sidewalling that can…