WHEAT crop, not a what crop! didn't get it edited in time, sorry
Is the residue decaying ? No, then you will always grow great stocks and poor wheat. The soil is a living thing, the organisms called Actinomyces decay cellulose and, if you've been using burned down no-till, you may have just killed them off. Think of all the nitrogen and other food you're missing by having dead soil.
As far as fertilizer applications go, there are 105 pairs of combinations. I don't believe I, or anyone else, has really figured them out yet. Ideas? Yes. Mastery? Not even close.
It starts (or should start) decaying primarily in the Fall, producing compost. That shades your ground, even in hot weather, but also provides nutrients that the plant takes up in the later growing season. Having residue on the ground, without it decaying, is just like putting woodchips out there. Think of your soil as a living, changing organism - because that's -precisely- what it is and too many people forget that. It's not just there to prop up the plant - it's the basis from where, literally, all life is derived. Treat your soil well and it'll treat you well in return. (Another way to think of it - you may not see (on a normal basis) or understand the inner-workings of your body but you take care of them, right? Same deal - the soil is the organism providing many of the same necessities for growth/life that you would expect of your body.)
People see a rock and think "inorganic and dead" but soil is not the same deal. It is a complex infrastructure full of size-reduced minerals, micro-organisms, larger life forms, etc. - more complex than any city if you were to scale it to size.
Jo, I understand your theory, but any residue needs moisture to decay, which we have not had in almost 12 months. No-till has improved our organic matter percentage in the last few years over 100% on some fields. On our dry land wheat I think we out yield any neighbor with conventional tillage.
It is our irrigated ground that we need to improve, and maybe more conventional tillage is the answer there, I dont know, we will have to see. There are several neighbors who do wheat the conventional way, and they didn't cut much more either....
If you put 100 tons of sawdust on your field, I bet your organic matter would go up too.
That would be a really dumb thing to do though, IMO!
I ask, in corn no-till is the stubble standing the next year? If so there is little if any bio activity I have seen corn stubble that could puncture a tire !
All living things need water, we as humans are not able to control that, well "better living through chemistry "
I just ask you to think as a farmer, not a commodities trader, but as a farmer that knows his soil himself.