Strip till has been benefiting farmers for years, but what exactly is strip till?
According to the USDA, “Strip-till is a system in which residue free strips of soil are tilled ahead of planting using a knife apparatus such as a fertilizer injection shank.” The American Society of Agronomy describes strip till as “Strip-till is in between the two systems (No Till and Conventional Till) where you combine the benefits of each.”
How can strip till help me?
1. Save Money on Fertilizer, Fuel and Labor: with strip till you can place fertilizer in a band, below where the roots of your crop will be, thereby increasing the efficiency of the fertilizer. Placing fertilizer in the same pass as tillage saves the extra cost of fuel in making less passes in the field. This will save on time and labor as well, because you will not be spending as much time in the field. (Jensen, 2018).
2. Increase Soil Health: Strip till “reduces soil erosion because most of the soil remains covered with crop residue. There is an increase in water filtration compared to conventional tillage, and also less carbon is released into the atmosphere which helps maintain higher levels of organic matter.” Overall, more organic life is left in the field due to the practice of less tillage and fertilizer being placed in bands. (NRCS, 2008)
3. Plant Earlier: Some studies have shown a temperature difference of 6 degrees higher in the strip into the month of June. When compared to No Till, Strip Till farmers report having been able to get in and plant their fields earlier because strip till makes for faster spring soil warm up and dry down. (Jensen, 2018).
4. Get Results: Yield advantages have been seen in continuous corn fields using strip till methods. “If you can get these soil properties to an optimal level they can allow the plant to grow with more ease, allowing it to focus its energy on yield.” (Korzekwa, 2015). See the image below of a 2004-2005 corn yield study by the University of Minnesota and North Dakota State University with various forms of tillage.
Want to Learn More? Below are some helpful links:
USDA Strip Till. Retrieved January 08, 2018. from
Benefits of strip-till surface after five-year study. (Korzekwa, Kaine). Retrieved January 08, 2018, from https://www.agronomy.org/science--news/benefits-strip-till-surface-after-five-year-study
Strip Till for Field Crop Production. Nowatzki, Endres, Hughes, Aakre. Retrieved Janury 08, 2018 from https://www.extension.umn.edu/agriculture/soils/tillage/docs/strip-till-for-field-crop-production.pdf
Nick Jensen Blog [E-mail to the author]. (2018, January 08).
Chris Finck [conversation to the author]. (2018, January 08).