2020 was anything but typical. But for farmers who got an early start on planting, managed to navigate extreme weather and put down the right fertility, it turned out pretty great. Especially for those who were able to capitalize on improved crop prices and earn top placements in the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Yield Contest.
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The benefits of converting to strip-tillage farming tillage practices have been around since the dawn of agriculture, but following the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, the practices of turning the soil has changed. The federal government created the Soil Conservation Service to promote proper soil management practices.
From the time the idea of the SoilWarrior came to life, Environmental Tillage Systems have done their best to revolutionize their production to meet the needs of their owners and operators. Since ETS began in 2004, the company and its products have pursued a progressive path to meet the current needs of their clients and lead the industry towards the future of strip-tillage.
Adding a SoilWarrior to your operation is a beneficial move. For two Minnesota Farmers, they decided to make the change to strip-tillage in an unconventional way. Both Justin Krell and Mike Trom dreamt of adding a SoilWarrior to each of their farming operations, but they weren’t sure how that wish would come true.
The SoilWarrior ISOBUS Control Module, or SWICM for short, is beneficial to strip-tillage because it is a key factor in two of the 4R’s, which are Right Rate and Right Place. With a properly calibrated machine, a grower can apply up to five different products at their Right Rate. In combination with a tractor’s GPS, display, and prescription maps, the SWICM is capable of variable rating multiple products at the Right Rate and in the Right Place. Along with the rate controlling capabilities, the SWICM has built-in features that reduce the number of components installed in the cab, creating less cab clutter for a better operating experience.
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.
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.