If you haven’t heard of Richard Follmer, just know that you’ve probably used a version of his invention if you’ve used a strip-till unit recently. The owner of Progressive Farm Products in Hudson, Ill., invented the midmount, dual-placement strip-till toolbar that is being used by thousands of Corn Belt farmers.
Honored as a No-Till Innovator at last January’s National No-Tillage Conference, Follmer’s more than two decades of strip-tilling has taught him a thing or two. During the 2009 event, he shared his insight on how to make the best use of strip-tillage — what works and what will help make producers more profitable.
“One of the things I’ve learned is that not everyone does things the same way in strip-till,” Follmer says. “Depending on where you live, the soil types you have, climate or rainfall pattern, what you do will make a difference in how you are going to make strips in your operation.”
“What you want is for the roots to go straight down in the strip,” Follmer says. “So there’s no real need for roots to move sideways to seek shallow-planed broadcast fertilizers.”
Follmer says that when he started developing strip-till equipment, producers laid down a residue carpet on the bean field.
“The problem was when you went to no-till corn in the spring, it wasn’t warm and it definitely wasn’t dry underneath,” he says.
While some no-tillers added coulters to the front of the planter, they…