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Timing, type and technique for fertilizer application can span a wide spectrum for strip-tillers, and past results of the Annual Strip-Till Operational Benchmark Study reveal some subtle and dramatic changes, year-to-year.
However, analysis of the 2017 study showed consistency among strip-tillers with their preferred fertilizer products and application practices. By far the most popular form of fertilizer application remained banding an average of 6 inches beneath the soil surface.
Some 68.8% prefer this method, about 3 points higher than 2015 (66%), but still below the 2014 total of 74.2%. Declining slightly in 2016 were strip-tillers who mixed fertilizer into the berm (35.3%) and those who apply nutrients between the berm (3.9%).
The number of strip-tillers using dry fertilizer boxes continued to increase, with 63.4% utilizing a mounted or pull-type system in 2016, compared to 61.7% in 2015 and 56% in 2014.
A new question added to the benchmark study asked strip-tillers if they own their own sprayer and 88.3% said yes. This total was higher than the 83% of no-tillers who own either a self-propelled or pull-type sprayer according to No-Till Farmer’s 9th Annual Operational Practices Benchmark Study.
For the most part, strip-tillers remained consistent with the timing of their nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) applications compared to 2015.
Sidedress application of N was one of only two methods that increased in popularity in 2016, from 67% in 2015 to 70% last year, according to benchmark study results. The other was a modest increase in strip-tillers…