New Technologies Knocking: Do You Answer?

Whether it’s narrow rows, better guidance systems or innovative equipment, no-tillers should make sure these new tools help them meet their goals.

Every year, new technologies emerge that can make it easier for you to improve your profitability.

The best way to evaluate these technologies is to make sure they fit into your no-till goals to improve stands, ear counts and final yields.

On my farm, I have several principles I follow to maximize yields and profitability in no-till. If I can meet those goals with new technologies, they’re worth a look.

My principles for optimizing no-till are hybrid and variety selection; optimum row spacing; seed and starter placement; soil and residue management; fertilizer placement, sources and timing; and reduced compaction and horsepower.

Do Your Homework. I’ve found it pays to use some of the most advanced genetics possible, but genetic lines still are the primary foundation for yield. For example, with corn hybrids, not all VT3s perform the same.

It pays to use your own technology — such as your yield monitor and software — to set up onfarm research plots and fine-tune your hybrid selection. Start with university and seed-company results, and then verify these results with your own replicated onfarm trials.

Alternative Row Spacing. The practice of planting crops in ultra-narrow rows or twin rows is becoming popular again as producers look for an extra yield bump.

From working with other farmers, I can tell you that doesn’t always happen — but there’s usually some other limiting production factor other than row spacing at play.

Before you move to narrower rows, make sure all other management practices — like…

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Jim Leverich

Jim Leverich no-tills near Sparta, Wis., and serves as an onfarm research coordinator for the University of Wisconsin.

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