Getting Ready for Those Spring No-Till Challenges

Focusing on healthy soil, avoiding compaction and outfitting your no-till planter properly can help you overcome challenges with no-tilling in tough soils.

As No-Tillers get ready for field work this spring, they need to think about the practices they’re deploying and whether those will help them achieve their yield and profit goals.

When it comes to succeeding with continuous no-till, challenges do exist — as well as opportunities to increase profitability, because you’ve eliminated tillage passes and the associated financial and soil-health costs.

No-till systems alone can present challenges, and yield can be at risk if not managed properly.

But also remember that soils with high organic matter, greater infiltration rates and more biological activity,which can be achieved through no-till, can store 4-8 inches of additional moisture that’s available during the growing season. That could provide a significant yield increase and a buffer against plant stress.

Pay Attention to Soil

Heavier black soils are a challenge for no-tillers in the spring, but they can be overcome if no-tillers strive to build healthy soils with at least 3-4% organic matter; manage for a neutral pH and low salinity; and strive for good structure and aggregate stability.

Installing tile drainage, managing residue properly, equipping the planter with the proper no-till attachments, and planting when soil conditions feel right are other pieces of the puzzle.

Soil compaction is a risk with heavy equipment or trafficking when soil is wet. If compaction exists, remedy it in the fall before moving to no-till.

While winter freeze-thaw cycles help, compaction should be taken care of initially with ripping, followed by seeding cover crops and following proper equipment trafficking…

To view the content, please subscribe or login.
 Premium content is for our Digital-only and Premium subscribers. A Print-only subscription doesn't qualify. Please purchase/upgrade a subscription with the Digital product to get access to all No-Till Farmer content and archives online. Learn more about the different versions and what is included.

Davidson_daniel

Daniel Davidson

Veteran farm advisor and agronomist Daniel Davidson no-tills near Stanton, Nebraska, and works as a private consultant.

Top Articles

Current Issue

CTG November 1119

No-Till Farmer

Get full access NOW to the most comprehensive, powerful and easy-to-use online resource for no-tillage practices. Just one good idea will pay for your subscription hundreds of times over.

View More

Must Read Free Eguides

Download these helpful knowledge building tools

View More
Top Directory Listings