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Deciding tillage-levels can be difficult for farmers

Both practices have benefits available to farmer and field

By Diego Flammini,

To till or not to till? That is the question farmers must ask themselves on a yearly basis as they begin to prepare their fields for planting.

Decisions like these have a long-lasting impact on the fields and equipment. For instance, more tilling means more fuel being used by the equipment which could alter their profit margins.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln outlined four reasons (plus personal preference) why farmers should use strip till.

The first reason is that strip-tilling allows for the soil to be fluffed and aerated about 6-8 inches wide and between 6-8 inches deep, which can help dry out any excess water.

Reason number two is being able to warm up colder soil by removing any residue.

The third reason is the specific placement of fertilizer.

Reason number four is that strip-tilling can cut through roots that make crop planting difficult.

With no-till farming operations, the benefits can be quite simple.

Choosing to practice no-till farming means the farmer isn’t running their machines which will cut down on labour, fuel and irrigation costs.

No-till can also have positive impacts on the soil. No till can protect soil from erosion or water evaporation, which means the plants can benefit from the retained moisture.

The debate between strip-till, no-till or even reduced tillage will continue as long as there are farmers. Join the discussion and tell us what kind of tillage you perform. Why do you do it that way and would you consider a different approach?

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