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On Trial: Finding The Best Closing Wheel For No-Till

Early research results from a Beck’s Hybrids study indicate no-tillers may have better alternatives than traditional rubber closing wheels, particularly when planting conditions turn out to be less than ideal.

Which closing wheel is right for no-till operations? That’s the big question Beck’s Hybrids seeks to answer by putting several closing wheel options to the test in multiple locations.

The Atlanta, Ind.-based, family-owned seed company conducts wide-ranging agronomic trials in its Practical Farm Research (PFR) program in support of its customers in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee.

And with a lot of no-tillers in that customer base, helping identify no-till yield-boosting practices is a big part of the effort.

“There are always different things you can tweak in a no-till system,” says Toby Ripberger, Practical Farm Research coordinator at Beck’s. “It can be very regionalized, but the early indications show there are extra bushels to be had with specific closing-wheel combinations best-suited to an individual farm and situation.”

With geographic, environmental and soil-type differences in four locations — central Indiana, central Illinois, southern Illinois and western Kentucky — it didn’t surprise Ripberger that there wasn’t a clear “best” choice among the various closing wheels and closing-wheel combinations.

After a single year’s worth of data, though, it appears that no-tillers have better alternatives than traditional rubber closing wheels.

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Better Yields

In a summary of two of the locations — western Kentucky and central Indiana — all four of the entries tested resulted in higher yields than the control treatment of two solid rubber closing wheels.

Two Dawn Curvetine wheels had a 5.6-bushel-per-acre advantage over the solid rubber wheels at harvest.

Using two Martin Dimple Wheels gave a 4.3-bushel-per-acre edge…

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Mark Parker

Contributing Editor

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