Timing can be everything when building strips, and in talking with farmers, it seems more are becoming loyal to one time of year or the other, depending on convenience, weather or availability of hired help.
These preferences were even more pronounced in the 4th annual Strip-Till Operational Benchmark study, compared to prior years. The percentage of farmers who prefer to build strips in fall or spring both increased by double digits for the 2016 cropping season.
For the third year in a row, the majority of strip-tillers prefer fall strip-till with 55.3% getting back into the field after harvest. This marks a 13-point increase over 2015 (42.3%) and a 17-point jump over 2014 (38.6%).
But those farmers preferring to build strips ahead of planting also increased from a low of 28.7% in 2015 to a new high of 40.4% last year. With more defined preferences, it made sense that the number of respondents who strip-till in both spring and fall declined to 30.8% from a high of 35.6% in 2015.
While data revealed dramatic year-over-year differences in when farmers build strips, there was less variance in the type of row unit setups strip-tillers utilize. At least 37% of respondents said they used either shank-style, coulter system or mole knife setups on their strip-till rig.
Talking with farmers during the last year, several had added new, used or modified secondary strip-till rigs for use during different seasons, with shanks more commonly associated with fall strips and coulters utilized in…