Strip-tilling after the ground began to freeze in the fall of 2008 paid off with good yields in 2009.

“I decided to wait for the ground to partially freeze up before strip-tilling,” says Kelly Cooper, farm manager for the Conservation Cropping Systems Proejct. Cooper manages on-farm research near Forman, N.D., where different tillage systems are compared in growing crops including corn, soybeans, wheat, alfalfa and cover crops.

“This does not give a very big window of time to get the work done, but we were successful,” Cooper says. “Many people have done strip-tilling in the spring as well. Getting the soil dried out enough to plant is a struggle with excess moisture and all of us have battled this for the last couple of springs. Many farmers are using some type of minimal disturbance implement.”

If needed in the spring, Cooper says he wants to use a strip-till machine to lightly stir and dry out the strips where seeding could be done in a short time period.

“Running the strip-till machine shallow and fast should take little fuel and not take too much time,” he says.

Strip-tilled corn after soybeans yielded more 17.6 bushels per acre more than no-tilled corn in 2009 in head-to-head comparisons of five hybrids on-farm trials.

In the 2009 trial comparing five hybrids head to head in strip-till and no-till after soybeans, strip-till yields ranged from 171.2 to 191.8 bushels per acre, while no-till yields ranged from 147 to 180.6 bushels per acre. Strip-tilled corn averaged 179.6 bushels per acre, while no-tilled corn averaged 162 bushels per acre.