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Assess Your Field’s Tillage Success Level

August 1, 2013
By: Sara Schafer, Farm Journal Media Business and Crops Editor
Missy   soil pit
Farm Journal Associate Field Agronomist Missy Bauer shows attendees at a Michigan Corn College event how to identify soil density layers.  

Your last tillage pass was likely months ago, so now is the perfect time to see if your fieldwork will generate big yields.

Proper tillage is a foundation for crop production. A uniform seedbed sets the entire growing season up for success.

At the 2013 Farm Journal Corn College event in Coldwater, Mich., farmers were able to see first-hand how different tillage techniques affects ear size.

Crop-Tech Consulting’s Isaac Ferrie explains how this field, which was run over with a disc in last fall and again this spring, has several horizontal layers.


"The roots tuned when they hit the compaction layer," he says. This will cause problems when there is prolonged dryness, because all the moisture will be held in the layer below.

In this field, Ferrie says, a hybrid chisel was used last fall and then vertical spring tool.


"This area has uniform shatter and no definitive layers," he says. "That creates good root movement, which equals big and consistent ears."

Farm Journal Associate Field Agronomist Missy Bauer says farmers can fine-tune their planter for varying conditions, but not for poorly done tillage.

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