Extensive soil testing prior to switching to no-till or strip-till will determine base nutrient levels and pinpoint where you need to bolster N, P, K and lime. Well-drained soils are also a plus for either tillage method. While strip-till is sometimes considered an alternative to no-till in poorly drained soils, it also works well on well-drained, flatter topography – and on the contour – to minimize erosion in the strip during heavy rains.


  • No-till planter depth-gauge wheels must firmly contact the surface, yet not be so tight as to compact in moist soils.
  • Double-disk seed openers and closing wheels should allow for excellent seed-to-soil contact and consistent seed placement.
  • When no-till planting soybeans after corn, row cleaners will clear residue for good seedling establishment. These residue managers should be height-adjusted to operate about 70% of the time as you travel through the field.
  • If you use a coulter behind the row cleaners, set it about a 0.5 in. shallower than the double-disk seed openers.
  • An in-furrow seed firmer placed directly in front of the closing wheels can improve seed placement consistency, particularly conditions.

(Source: Iowa Learning Farms, ISU Extension)