Problems with stalkstubble chewing up tires on the planter tractor led to another of Kurz’s shop projects. To remedy the problem, Kurz built and mounted 13-in.-diameter rollers at the front of his tractor to flatten stalk stubble ahead of the tractor tires. He designed the hydraulically raised rollers to float up and down with undulations in the field surface. Without the stalk flattening, he says, “you won’t even make it through the day (without damage to the tires).”

He first tried rolling stalk cutters ahead of the tractor tires. Vibration created by the stalk cutters prompted him to abandon them in favor of the rollers.

Kurz follows a cropping sequence of three years in corn followed by one year in soybeans, so most of his corn planting is into cornstalk stubble.

“I try to rotate my herbicide program,” he says, to avoid depending solely on glyphosate. Corn planted the first year after beans is a non-GMO hybrid with an application of Callisto. Second-year corn is Roundup Ready and third-year corn is either Roundup Ready or a glufosinate-ammonium product (Liberty or Ignite), in conjunction with a pre-emerge/preplant herbicide. He returns to soybeans the fourth year with a Roundup Ready soybean variety.

All of his corn and soybeans were planted by May 1 this year. “I work more off the calendar than (soil) temperature,” he says, explaining that he shoots for the middle of April to begin planting.

He keeps two 24-row (12-twin-row) planters rolling with a seed caddy that he modified to fill planter boxes from any of the four bulk seed containers on the caddy. With a crank on a chain and sprocket assembly, he moves the hopper under the bulk seed containers from one bulk container to another. Forced air moves seed through a flex tube running from the hopper to the planter boxes.

His latest experiment with strip-tillage and twin rows is planting rye in the fall to protect sandy soil against wind erosion over the winter.

He strip-tilled this spring and planted Roundup Ready corn into the growing rye, before applying Roundup to kill the rye following planting. He ended up having to make a second Roundup application to completely kill the rye.

November 2010