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Corn stalks puncturing new and slightly worn tires on the tractor and corn planter of Kansas no-tiller Terry Jacob pushed him to find a solution that would save money on tires.
“The Bt corn stalks are like bamboo,” says Jacob, who farms near Sedgwick, Kan. “They are tearing the tires up. We planted corn a short day. The next morning, we went out and had three flat tires — two on the tractor and one on the planter. That tire on the planter was brand-new.”
Using RTK GPS allows Jacob to plant his corn precisely between the old 30-inch rows, but the same precision places tires directly over the Bt corn stalks that he describes as sharp as spear points.
“No-tillers who split 30-inch rows and drive their tractor and planter tires on top of the previous year’s standing corn stalks are not just wearing out their expensive tires,” Jacob says. “They are destroying the tires.”
Jacob decided last year to find a solution. He and farming partner Ryan Speer worked with Bill King, who owns Frontier Welding in Halstead, Kan., to build a roller that is about 21 feet wide so they could flatten corn stalks and kill cover crops.
“I don’t want the corn stalks to go away,” Jacob stresses. “I just want them leaning over. Flat is fine. But I don’t want to cut them and sever them and then have them go away.”
Jacob says he’s seen what happens when farmers chop corn stalks…