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.