We are going on two years of strip-tilling 160 acres out of 660. Last year we had a yield increase of 5 bu over the other farms. We are using an 8 row hiniker strip-till bar with NH3. Both falls we had the problem with the unit not going in the ground. Ground that hard isn't going to seal but we wanted to run over it to start a strip for spring so that's not the question. The question is, who strip-tills out there and what company do you run and are you satisfied with that unit. Personally we have been eyeing schlagel, it looks like an in-line ripper. Any comments are welcome.
We are 8 years into it now. We run 12 row Orthman 1Tripr. Not sure they are the best, but they are definately built well for someone wanting to do some ripping while getting started. I am not sure you or others will agree with me, but we have neigbors that are generally harder than us in the fall too, and the only difference is NH3 vs liquid. We have been liquid since started strip tilling and it gets softer and softer every year. We have tons of worms and organism in the soil that I contribute to making it softer and more alive vs killing some of it with the NH3. I think strip-till is a going through phase that you would want before going no-till, as I think that should be your end goal. We have been going no-till on more and more acres every year with great results. There are bumps in the road, it is not a perfect journey, but I think after time it will be well worth the time and money saved on less and less trips through the field. Going no-till to early has also taught us some valuable learning blocks that we will avoid us we go on. You need to break the hard pan and conventional tillage history before you expect miracles from no-till, and strip-till is the perfect solution to this.
Nick / Tony,
Have you seen any issues with just fertilizing the zones / strips in each field and not the entire field? Do you think there are any downfalls to doing this?
We are trying to determine what route to go long term and to try and invest in the right equipment. Whether continue with mulch till (field cultivator / disc) & no-till or switch to vertical tillage. I understand the benefits of vertical tillage and zone tillage but the investments are huge. We have had great crops and success with the No-Till we have done and the mulch tillage so should I be looking at another practice? Discs and field cultivators are cheap... I am worried about the creation of a hard pan from the disc which is why I want to switch to vertical tillage and then have a mix of it and no-till. But even with vertical tillage aren't we going to have to rip every 3-4 years because of compaction created by our equipment? Just wondered what your two cents were on all this.
Tony, have you looked at the Soil Warrior? Looks like the perfect zone tillage outfit but again extremely expensive. The least amount of trips that at the same time warms the soil, reduces compaction, and manages residue seems ideal anymore.
we do conventional till ( JD 512 and Sunflower mulch finisher) and then strip till too. we did vertical for about 5 years but parked it because there was too much mulch so you are right about ripping but a true verticle tool should have no hard pan. There is a reason why only a few farmers do this and that is the cost of everything. We aren't GPSing to an gnat's fanny and even then it is expensive. We run contours so we need a 3pt bar but we weren't impressed with the soil warrior just because we want a shank. We also don't need P and K so that helps with air carts and other attachments. As far as strip till vs broadcasting issue we see the point of strip till is to give that plant it's vital nutrients without wasting product in between rows. It's expensive crappshoot all around: is bar/unit that bought going to work, setting the bar for NH3/liquid N, GPS options. Before you know it you spent a heck of a lot of money on something that might not pan out. That's why we went with hiniker because they used their cultivator 6000 and we found a 6 row bar cheap and bought a couple more units and fitted it to a Buffalo cultivator bar then bought NH3 parts for it. It was about 1/3 of the price of just buying it without NH3. It is what you foresee yourself doing in the future.