Assess Your Field’s Tillage Success Level

July 31, 2013 11:04 PM
Assess Your Field’s Tillage Success Level

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.

"When there are columns of untilled ground next to areas of loose soil that acts as a rumble strip through the field. The planter unit will bounce and no matter if the meter is calibrated correctly, you’ll have spacing issues."

Seeds will also not be planted at the same depths, which will lead to uneven growth.



Thank you to the 2013 Corn College sponsors:

Agrotain, BASF, Great Plains Mfg., Novozymes, Plant Tuff, Precision Planting, SFP, Wolftrax

Catch up on full coverage of Corn College at


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