By Jodie Wehrspann
Anyone shopping for tillage equipment likely has come across Curt Davis, marketing manager with Kuhn Krause, a full-line manufacturer of tillage equipment. Davis can be found frequently at farm shows, answering questions about the company’s newest tillage tools on display. We asked Davis what topics will be important to cover in our upcoming publications.
Q. What is the trending topic in tillage right now?
Right now, I still think the hottest segment of the market is vertical tillage. However, if you want to focus on something that might get farmers thinking about their operations, and how to best manage their investment and resources, you may want to focus on strip-till. Strip-till is still growing in much of the Corn Belt, and many farmers are considering the practice.
Q. Why the emphasis on strip-till?
Drought is the obvious sore spot for practically everyone in the country. Management of investment resources will be paramount for most farmers after 2012, and 2011 wasn’t that great either.
Q. How can strip-till address these issues?
Okay, strip-till will not solve drought. But it can better conserve moisture for corn production. This has been demonstrated by high-plains farmers over the last decade where water resources are short. Strip-till is being considered as an alternative to conventional tillage and is considered “no-till” due to the fact that it only disturbs 33% of the field surface, yet provides many of the same benefits as conventional tillage.
Also, a one-pass [system] means less fuel, time, labor and fertilizer expense when you consider placing the exact amount of fertilizer required for that year’s crop. This equates to better control of input costs and, ultimately, more profit potential.
Q. How do yields compare to other tillage systems?
Strip-till research conducted by universities as well as independent sources has shown excellent yields that rival conventional or no-till yields. By most research accounts, strip-till yields as well or better than other practices.
I think there is a real story here, and a very timely one under the current weather conditions, that farmers would be interested in.