As many strip-tillers can attest, finding the right mix of equipment to maximize performance and productivity in the field is an evolving process. It may takes years or even decades of experimentation with different toolbars, row units and attachments to find the right combination.
This notion is reinforced by responses to the equipment usage portion of the 3rd annual Strip-Till Benchmark Operational Study, which revealed a variety of brands, row unit setups and sizes of unit used by farmers.
For the third straight year, a shank-style setup proved to be the most popular among strip-tillers, with 44.2% using this system, down slightly from the 46.6% in 2014 and similar to the 44.1% in 2013.
Second-most popular was a mole knife at 36.7%, but this represented a nearly 10% decline from the 2014 total of 45%, and closer to the 33.8% in the 2013. Rounding out the list for the third year in a row and continuing a downward trend was a coulter system with 32.8% using this setup, compared to 35.4% in 2014 and 38.2% in 2013.
The type of row unit setup strip-tillers find most effective can depend on field conditions and when they prefer to prepare their seedbed. Fall strip-till proved to be the most popular timing for the third year in a row, with 42.3% of farmers getting back into the field after harvest. While this represented an increase over 2014’s total of 37.3%, it’s on par with the 42% reported for 2013.