Strip tillage is part of a progressive system of crop production. There are many variations in strip tillage equipment type, installation timing, width and depth of strips, so that producers are able to tailor the system to work best on their farm. The strip tillage equipment revolves around either shanks or coulters and often a combination of the two, to work only the portion of the field that will receive seed.
Strip tillage offers the advantages of both conventional and no tillage systems and also reduces some of the negative consequences of both of these systems.
“The ability to only work part of the field offers an opportunity to expose soil in the spring to sun and wind to dry out the soil. The system also supports equipment operation as the weight of the equipment is on the undisturbed ground, which is more resilient to compaction and smearing than worked ground,” notes Ian McDonald, OMAFRA Field Crops Unit. “Strip tillage also offers an ability to manage crop residues without having to bury everything, thus reducing soil erosion and offers increased protection of the soil.”
The Strip Tillage Demonstration at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show is going to feature the many advantages in fertilizer management that this type of tillage can offer, such as incorporation, fertilizer placement, and timing options. There is a better opportunity to incorporate fertilizers in the rooting zone of the plants, whereas in other tillage systems the fertilizer is distributed evenly and shallowly across the entire field width where its available to feed weeds as well as the crop. Crops utilize banded fertilizers more efficiently than broadcasted ones. The system also offers a fertilizer management opportunity to incorporate fertilizers at desired depths and locations in fall or spring, and providing more protection of that fertilizer from losses associated with broadcast application, even where broadcast fertilizer is incorporated. In general, farmers have more time for tillage than for the critical planting phase of cropping systems. Moving the fertilizer application to the strip tiller reduces trips over the field, applies and incorporates fertilizer at the same time as tillage happens, and reduces the load and logistics of planting.
At the demonstration, various equipment manufacturers will set their equipment up to mimic fall or spring trip till configuration with fertilizer delivery. The fertilizer will be applied during the equipment’s operation and the strips of the various configurations will be dug up to show the distribution of fertilizer within the various strips.
View the Strip Tillage Showcase 2.0: Putting Fertilizer in It’s Place at 11:45 a.m. daily in the Southwest Demo Field.