In the Dirt: Tillage Research — Trials & Tribulations

Salford tillageOne year and one field does not a trial make, says Mark Van Veen, with Salford, in regards to some of the findings gleaned from the company’s tillage trials in Michigan. Salford has spent a few years evaluating several types and timing of tillage in an effort to put together reasonable comparisons of expected planter performance based on each practice.

As you’ll see in this In the Dirt episode, Salford evaluates timing and type of tillage via four criteria: resulting plant stand counts, plantability, root evaluations and ear and kernel counts.

Related: Conservation tillage is part art, part science, says Pat Lynch

The goal, Van Veen says, is to find the right mix of tillage passes that results in maximum planter performance and yield. The tricky part, of course, is matching all the types of tillage with individual field conditions or farm-specific management goals or philosophies. As a general rule, though, Van Veen says that the Michigan trials suggest fall tillage gives a consistent yield boost, and more than enough yield to pay for the pass. What’s more, the trials suggest discs in the spring are the riskiest of passes, resulting in blade ridges, sub-soil variability and smear layers in wet conditions.

Follow this link to see more of the In the Dirt series!

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