With return on investment top of mind for many growers, RTK, tissue sampling, VRT and other precision technologies are becoming essential for running a profitable business. These tools can help improve input efficiency and identify areas to cut costs. The tricky part can be saving money without sacrificing yields.
According to Iowa State University, strip-till is a great option to cut down on waste and runoff of surface-applied fertilizers. Equipment manufacturers offer different row unit options to apply dry, liquid or NH3, so growers can choose the best fit for their soil and operation.
The SoilWarrior®, a complete precision strip-till and nutrient application system, combines the efficiency of VRT with durable row units to boost nutrient efficiency and bottom lines. Farmers choose it because it uniformly blends fertilizer throughout tilled zones up to 12 inches deep, creating the ideal seedbed for crops to thrive.
Long-time no-tillers and conventional tillers alike have experienced better yields through nutrient efficiency.
David Hula, a former no-till farmer from Virginia and winner of the 2019 NCGA Corn Yield Contest, experienced immediate gains when he used the SoilWarrior on his ground.
“As we got to yield barriers, we were introduced to strip-till and played with a few acres,” said Hula. “The first year, in the very first field, we saw a 37 bushel per acre yield increase and, overall, what we consistently saw was emergence quality with better seedbed preparation.”
While yields increased, overall fertilizer costs decreased.
“We didn’t have to spend so much money to fertilize the whole zone. Now, we’re just fertilizing where the crop is actually growing,” said Hula.
Conventional tillers experience even greater efficiency because they till and fertilize in one pass.
“It’s really important to me to build the seedbed and apply nutrients in the zone at the same time. It increases my efficiency, and I don’t have to make another trip across the field,” said Darin Stolte, an Iowa farmer who has been strip-tilling since 2018. “I really like how the SoilWarrior places the nutrients in the zone. Everything is right there where the plant needs it.”
This increased productivity translates to real savings for many SoilWarrior customers. Minnesota farmer Brian Ryberg cut his typical P&K broadcast rate to 75% after switching to strip-till, while Michigan growers Ryan and Melissa Shaw estimated they saved $80,000 in fertilizer costs in just one year.
In addition to efficiency and overall savings, strip-till also offers the flexibility many farmers need when weather doesn’t cooperate. According to another Iowa State University study, there was no statistical difference in yield-based spring or fall P&K applications.