Fall strip till photo: Adam Nechanicky, Buckingham, Iowa, prefers fall strip-till because it’s one less thing to do in the spring. Plus, that way he does not have to worry about waiting in spring between anhydrous application and planting. Spring strip-till photo: Jim Sladek, Iowa City, Iowa, applies N, P, K, and S blended throughout the strip as he spring strip-tills ahead of the planters. He uses two 24-row strip-till machines, which are designed especially for spring conditions, to outpace three 24-row Deere planters. It’s important to allow the strips to “grey off” for several hours before planting to prevent sidewall compaction. “From our standpoint, spring strip-till is the best agronomic practice,” he says.
Ask farmers about fall versus spring strip-building and you get convincing arguments for both.
Choosing spring or fall strip-till “depends on so many factors; only you can decide,” says Brad Meister, Bourbon, Ind. “Soil type, coulter machine or shank machine, whether you have any erodible land, the amount of time you have in the fall to do it; how long it takes for your ground to mellow out in the spring, and whether you put down phosphorus or potassium with it.”
Consider Iowa farmer Jim Sladek, who believes so strongly in spring strip-till that he’s willing to staff up with skilled operators in the busy planting season to make it happen.
“It’s important to use the right strip-till equipment for spring operation,” says the Iowa City continuous-corn farmer, for “shallower spring operations.” He uses a Dawn Pluribus, “a coulter-based unit designed for wetter spring soils,” he says. “Much different from a shank-style, deep-rip-type unit used in the fall. I build my spring strip, let it dry off, then plant,” he says.
Corn+Soybean Digest asked strip-tillers which season they prefer for stripping; the answers hinge on people’s soils, equipment and manpower.