Preparing for Planting Into Strip-Tilled Acres

Strip-tillage (Figure 1) is becoming a popular practice among growers because:

  • The tillage can be done in the fall when a grower may be less busy.
  • Fertilizer can be placed in the root zone.
  • It provides a suitable environment (warmer soil) for more rapid growth at planting time.

To help make sure you are ready to plant into strip-till fields in the spring, a few practices listed below may help:

  • The right fields should be selected. Generally, those that are flatter or gently rolling. Steep hills and contours make it more difficult to stay on the row.
  • Drier fields should be selected and strip-tilled first.
  • If possible, a better springtime seedbed may occur when strip-tilling is completed in the fall when fields may be drier and have fewer clumps.
  • Fall is a great time to apply dry fertilizer because it has more time to break down before spring.
  • Trash should be moved away from the strips to help make planting easier.
  • Strips should not be too deep and should be kept consistent for fertilizer placement and planter depth. Depth should not go past 8 inches deep.
  • Equipment should be properly maintained and the tractor should have adequate horsepower to handle the strip-till machine.
  • The strips should not be driven over as this will defeat the original purpose of strip-tilling.
  • Watch for different weed pressure as this form of tillage may introduce other species than had previously been in the field.

Strip-tillage is an excellent way to prepare your fields for planting in the spring. Following these simple rules for preparation can help to alleviate some problems that may occur.

Figure 1. Field being strip-tilled.

Additional information:

Planting corn with starter fertilizer in strip-till fields. Agronomy ADVICE.​​

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