FIGURING ROI. Jesse Stoller analyzed how many acres an operation would need to farm in order to justify buying new equipment. He says he’d need to strip-till at least 3,500 acres to justify a $500,000 equipment purchase.

4 Takeaways from the 7th Annual National Strip-Tillage Conference

The virtual event assembled a diverse group of strip-till experts sharing experience-based advice on cover crop integration, custom strip-till economics and high-yielding corn tips.

The 7th annual National Strip-Tillage Conference (NSTC), held August 6-8, may have looked a little different than previous years’ events. But the idea-sharing and diversity of topics discussed during general sessions, classroom presentations and live roundtables embodied the annual experience attendees have come to expect. Here are 4 highlights from this year’s event.

1 Cover Crops Can Accelerate Increasing Soil Organic Matter

Wayne Fredericks, a strip-tiller from Osage, Iowa, has worked with Jerry Hatfield, retired USDA plant physiologist, since the early 1980s, to collect data on his 750-acre farm’s soil health. Soil testing has revealed an 8% increase in organic matter in 25 years.

Fredericks credits changing to strip-till and using cover crops to the increase in soil organic matter. According to NRCS, each 1% of organic matter for enhanced water availability is worth $18 per acre.

Hatfield says that growers can lose 20% percent of crop yield due to lack of available moisture. “When we’re talking 240 bushel corn vs. 200 bushel corn or 60 bushel beans vs. 50 bushel beans, that’s significant,” says Fredericks.

2 Emerging Yield Advantages

Charles City, Va., farmer David Hula has a reputation for being one of the top-yielding corn producers in the world. He credits his 2018 transition to strip-till with enhancing the conservation tillage benefits he was already seeing after decades of no-till. Through a series of trials in 2019, Hula saw even emergence among his early corn plants, which has contributed to visual evidence of increased yield potential.

“We saw suckers…

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Sarah hill web

Sarah Hill

Sarah Hill is associate editor for the ag division, contributing primarily to Precision Farming Dealer, Strip-Till Farmer, No-Till Farmer and Cover Crop Strategies. Hill has a farm background and graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in Ag Journalism and a minor in Animal Science. She has previously served as managing editor of DairyBusiness and is a member of the National Agri-Marketing Association and American Ag Editors’ Association.

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