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How to Tweak Planters For Strip-Till Systems

Creating the ideal seedbed in strip-till requires the right precision technology, diligent residue management and consistent depth control.

In any farming practice, the cornerstone of growing a profitable crop is an effective planting strategy.

But strip-till often requires more attention to detail because farmers only have several inches of optimal planting space to work with. Hitting — or missing — that target zone can be the difference between a bumper crop and disappointing yields.

“One thing I love about strip-till is that it provides the most consistent planting condition of all tillage systems,” says Andy Thompson, an Illinois strip-tiller and regional sales manager with Yetter Mfg. “But we’ve witnessed farmers struggle with strip-till when they don’t put the proper time and effort into getting their planter ready to take full advantage of those ideal conditions.”

Both strip-tillers and equipment manufacturers say certain factors — including downpressure, seed depth control, residue management and seed trench closure — are critical to planting a profitable crop in strip-till.

Clearing The Strip

Strip-till rigs often serve as primary residue managers, but that doesn’t mean farmers can take a casual approach with their planter to keep strips clean, Thompson says. Ideally, farmers should have planter lift wheels riding on the residue, and the row units on the clean strip, to ensure the best planting conditions.

“If a farmer makes poor strips and comes out to plant into them with residue mixed in, there’s no magic fix with row cleaners or the planter that is going to compensate for that,” Thompson says. “This can lead to poor seed-to-soil contact and emergence. Paddle or spiked…

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Jack Zemlicka

Jack Zemlicka is the Technology Editor for No-Till Farmer. He covers precision farming practices, products and trends, which can improve efficiency and productivity for no-till farmers.

He joined Lessiter Publications Ag Division in 2012 and also serves as managing editor of Strip-Till Farmer.

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