Tillage practices are varied for farms today, depending on the farmer’s vision for the land, but strip-till systems can benefit corn by combining many of the best aspects of no-till and conventional tillage systems, according to a report from DuPont Pioneer. The advantages of strip-till are generally most pronounced for corn following corn, where strip-till can help improve seedbed uniformity and reduce plant-to-plant variability compared to no-till.
“Strip tillage encourages more favorable soil temperature, moisture and aeration conditions for germinating seeds and seedling plants,” says Pioneer’s Jerry Harrington. “This can translate to improved crop establishment and early season performance. Strip-till also offers the opportunity to place fertilizers directly into the root zone, away from crop residues that could otherwise intercept or immobilize nutrients,” he says.
The report continues to assert that strip-till provides benefits over conventional tillage practices in the areas of conservation and efficiency. “By leaving the interrow untilled, crop residues are retained on the soil surface providing increased erosion resistance and organic inputs,” it says. Strip-till can also reduce field passes and input costs compared to conventional tillage.
Tips for successful strip-till
It’s important to consider field selection, tillage timing, and strip placement when implementing strip till into your operation. According to the report, “Guidance systems and strip-till units with parallel linkage help ensure accurate seed placement and consistent depth control. It may take a season or two to become skilled at staying on the strips—so give it time and stick with it.