Soybean School: Do We Really Need Tillage On Soybean Stubble?

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Did you till soybean stubble this fall? If you have, you’re driving Peter Johnson nuts!

In this Soybean School episode, RealAgriculture’s resident agronomist confesses that the only problem with the tremendous Ontario fall weather is it gives farmers too much time to till.

Wheat Pete says farmers should be inspecting their soybeans fields to see whether residue is spread evenly across the field and “if you do a good job, I don’t see the benefit of tillage.”

Farmers claim many reasons, including breaking up soil compaction, for the need to roll a tillage implement into a field following soybean harvest, but Johnson is not buying that. “The best way to break up compaction after soybeans is to plant the field to wheat, because the wheat roots will do it for you,” he says. “If you have compaction, ask yourself ‘how did I create it?’ Mother Nature didn’t create it, you created it.”

Johnson implores farmers to do something different in these fields. At the top of his list is strip tilling. “Before you get everything ploughed down or disc ripped, go to your neighbour and borrow their strip tiller. It’s a great option.”

Farmers can also talk to Johnson’s grower friend from Arthur, Ontario who harvests 200 bushels of corn when he no-tills into soybean stubble. He says “you can do whatever you want on soybean stubble and it’s gonna work.”


Related: Soybean School West: What’s the Right Amount of Tillage for Soybean Residue?

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