I have heard and spoken about many positives around strip till, but wanted to share a big negative that I saw in spots this spring. One of the goals of strip till is to create a seed bed in a zone while leaving the majority of the soil untouched. A late, wet fall last year lead to strips being created in less than ideal conditions. For many, the year 2014 ended up being a late, wet and cool spring. Weeds were allowed to get bigger than normal and began to shade the “black dirt” on our strips. These conditions lead to very uneven emergence, as shown below. In this particular field, there was 2 leaf corn mixed with 5 leaf corn. 

The downfall of this uneven emergence starts taking its toll right away and will not stop costing you until the end of the growing season.

  • Your in-season herbicide timing will be compromised (critical weed free period has been greatly extended!)
  • Your timing for fungicide has now been greatly skewed
  • Your maximum pollen shed will not be achieved (the latest emergers might not even have a chance to pollinate)
  • Your harvest moisture will be highly variable causing inconsistences while setting/running dryers

 MY TO DO LIST FOR FALL (if I am strip tilling):

  • Within reason, start as early as possible to avoid poor zones in late fall
  • Fall burndowns are needed to avoid large weeds in spring crowding your zone
  • Create a zone larger than 2 inches so soil can warm faster

Kirk Van Will, CCA-ON, Maizex Seeds Yield Specialist, West Middlesex & Lambton Counties
Twitter: @KirkVanWill