Strip-tillage may be a new term to some of those in the farming industry, but for three neighbors, strip-till has been on their farms for over two decades. Each farmer has discovered benefits from using strip-till on their operation. While their equipment may differ, their soil and yields are thriving as a result of their practices. Meet these three farmers from Morristown, Minnesota, and discover the differences in their strip-tillage operations.
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Meet 2016 4R Advocate Darin Stolte
If you’re young and progressive, you can identify with this farmer. He was chosen as a 2016 4R Advocate by the Fertilizer Institute for his focus on nutrient stewardship. Since then, he’s sought out more practices and innovations that help him achieve the goals of 4R Nutrient Stewardship. He’s been using strip-till on his eastern Iowa farm since 2018. He has a passion for sharing what he’s learned with other farmers, like you. In fact, he hosted the 2019 Iowa 4R Field Day on his farm. We had the opportunity to ask him some questions about his farming operation and practices this past spring. See what he had to say - meet Darin.
- Deep placement should not be your only nutrient application method as nutrients may not be available to the crop when needed.
- Concentrating nutrients in one location can cause the remaining root zone to become nutrient deficient.
- A multiple band approach often requires several passes through the field and many expensive attachments to planting equipment.
- Zone placement combines the benefits associated with multiple bands in an efficient, single pass operation that manages residues and creates an ideal seedbed.
This is the story of how a moldboard plow dramatically changed the soil properties of a field, which was previously managed with years of minimal tillage and cover crops along with one year of strip-till with the SoilWarrior®.
Uniform distribution of fertilizer is key for optimal crop performance. Consider the following points when planning your fertilizer application.
- As you choose a strip-till method, be sure the fertilizer application method meets your requirements for fertilizer distribution.
- Operate the machine at the correct speed and depth to ensure uniform incorporation.
- Be sure the placement method does not leave a void in which nutrients get concentrated.
The ETS team joined over 200 strip-till enthusiasts in Bloomington, IN at the beginning of August to share best practices for soil health at the National Strip-Till Conference. Of the many agronomists, consultants and farmers that presented at the conference, we are featuring four on our Defending the Land blog. Read on to learn about their strategies for improving soil.
The SoilWarrior with rolling coulters works well for Groholske; it rolls over rocks rather than pulling them to the surface.
The ETS team traveled the Midwest this summer to gather knowledge from leading experts on reducing soil erosion and improving soil health. From North Dakota to Iowa and Ohio, SoilWarrior customers, strip-tillage enthusiasts and farmers alike gathered to share best practices for sustainable land management while improving yield. Since we know you can’t be everywhere, we’re bringing three top resources for better soil management to you. We give an extra thanks to the universities and researchers that hosted us at their field days: Iowa State University, North Dakota State University, The Ohio State University and the University of Minnesota. We appreciate how hard they work to share soil health knowledge and insights with us.
Soil Health & Farm Productivity
Consider the amazing ways earthworms contribute to soil health and farm productivity. Their activity in the soil offers many benefits including increased nutrient availability, better drainage, and a more stable soil structure, all of which help improve farm productivity.
The more Iowa farmer Ben Pederson hears about the use of cover crops, the more convinced he is that it was the right addition to his current cropping practices. Already a strong advocate for strip-tillage, Pederson believes the use of cover crops in his cropping program was an obvious addition. In 2013 when heavy rains prevented him from putting in a crop, he turned to the use of cover crops to prevent erosion and depleted soil health. The positive advantage he saw from the cover crops led him to incorporate them the following year during a normal growing season.
As Dr. Steven Carlson walked a strip-tilled field near his home in Albert Lea, MN this past summer, he noticed something missing: soil compaction. Penetrometer readings from the neighbor’s conventionally tilled field had measured compacted soil at 15 inches, but this field was consistently showing none.
It was also teeming with earthworms.