As you plan for your 2011 crop, now is also a good time to think ahead to how your tillage practices will impact crop performance this season and on into the following year, says Missy Bauer, Farm Journal associate field agronomist.
She notes that the objectives in a corn-soybean rotation are to create a uniform soil density and prepare an adequate seed bed.
She explains: “We can often accomplish this with less aggressive tools with closer shank spacing. You want to make sure the tool you are using has uniform fracture of the soil in-between the shanks, as not to leave ‘columns’ in-between the shanks.
“We can typically get good shatter with 15-inch or less shank spacing,” Bauer adds. “The point on the shank will also contribute to good shatter in-between.”
As always, farmers will benefit most from evaluating this approach on their specific soil types.
“In some cases, a narrow 2-inch point can accomplish this; in other cases you may need a narrow wing point to help with the shatter,” Bauer says.
Always keep in mind what your options are for leveling after your primary tillage. The smoother the surface after primary tillage the easier it will be to level with a vertical tillage leveling tool.
“There are several primary tillage tools with leveling devices attached on the back, that can set you up for a harrow type (vertical tillage) tool to prepare the final seedbed,” Bauer says.
In the following video completed post harvest last fall, Bauer points out how to evaluate soil shatter results in the field.