No-Till Notes: Tips for Successful No-Till Planting and Emergence

No-tillers only have one shot to set their crops up for high-yielding potential, so focus on what’s required to achieve a quick, even emergence and vigorous stand this spring.

AS NO-TILLERS, we’re challenged with configuring planters that can handle residue and properly place seed in the soil.

Setting up a planter essentially involves three things: handling residue; opening and closing the furrow while firming soil around the seed; and precisely placing seed at the right depth and spacing. At the same time, you want to minimize any risk of compaction or crusting.

The most common tips to consider include:

  • Maintain sharp double disc openers
  • Maintain proper disc spacing
  • Level the planter
  • Keep residue uniform
  • Don’t seed between the old rows
  • Watch planting speed
  • Maintain proper down pressure
  • Prevent sidewall compaction
  • Place seeds at proper depth and at the bottom of the seed furrow
  • Close the furrow

Every year someone comes out with new technology to improve planter performance and it may seem difficult to keep up.

While having a good planter is important, focus on what is required for good emergence. The desired end result is quick and even emergence resulting in an even, vigorous stand with the highest yield potential. If the stand isn’t right, you can never regain that lost yield potential.

Handling Residue

You want the soil to be warm and dry enough for planting, and the sooner you reach this point in the spring, the sooner you can start planting.

For no-tillers, enough can’t be said about managing the residue on top of the soil and having a planter equipped to move the residue out of the way. Row cleaners come in a variety of…

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Daniel Davidson

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

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