Strip-tillage under optimal soil moisture conditions is critical, - meaning not too dry, but hopefully not too wet. Using GPS to align planter units with strip-till rows is necessary, as is the timely (usually within one week of corn seeding) application of herbicide. Finally, anticipating and applying irrigations earlier and perhaps more frequently than with standard till systems.
Gordon Foster (pictured at right), a Barcellos Farms employee, has done the bulk of the farm’s no-till and strip-till corn seeding since Barcellos started with CT in 1993.
“The bulk of our corn is now strip-tilled,” he said, “due to the overall advantages we’ve seen with this system.”
Time and costs between crops are reduced. One of the primary lessons that Barcellos has learned through his years of using CT is the absolute need to be on top of water management.
“You may end up putting on less water with CT than conventional tillage systems, but you’ve really got to be prepared for earlier and perhaps more frequent irrigations," has been a learning-curve consideration that he reinforces to folks who are interested in getting into CT.
They use a John Deere 1590 no-till drill to seed wheat or triticale in the fall and also they use the same drill to establish a sorghum sudan triple crop following corn chopping. Corn is direct seeded with a Monosem twin-row planter that staggers two seed lines every 30 inches in flat plantings (pictured below right).
One problem that has surfaced in the Crowell’s CT system is the natural consolidation or settling of their largely sandy soil that has created low spots where irrigation water tends to collect resulting in poor crop growth.To address this problem, they will do a shallow landplaning following this summer’s crops.