Strip Till

In early 2012 Crop Service Center bought a 12 row Unverferth Ripper-Stripper® Strip-Till Subsoiler. This Strip Till unit is tied into a large fertilizer tank and 4 wheel drive tractor. We here at Crop Service Center chose this type of setup so we could do something different for our growers. Unlike many of the strip till units in use in the area, we are able to run custom liquid fertilizer mixes through our unit and rip the soil at a depth of 9” or more. Most units are only able to penetrate the soil to a depth of 5”. Most of the no-till fields in our area have been in no-till for a while, and have had heavy equipment ran over them during wet conditions. This process has compacted the soils in areas extremely deep. Our strip till unit is able to better penetrate the soil and fracture this compaction zone, allowing for better root development.

Crop Service Center has ran many side by side test with our unit against no-till planted corn and milo, and every time you can see an obvious benefits.

  • Larger root mass
  • Improved drought tolerance
  • Improved emergence
  • Increased Yield

All of the above improvements easily pay for the cost of this service and put money back in the producer’s pocket. Look into our Test Plot Data page to see some of our on farm research.

Strip Till History

No-till has been largely successful at reducing soil loss from erosion. It also has proven to be better at retaining moisture by improving infiltration and reducing evaporation. On heavy soils in moist environments, high residue levels have delayed planting and resulted in poor early seedling vigor. This has been a problem for corn production in the Midwest. Strip-till was designed primarily to help improve the seedling environment in early spring. Tillage in the fall or spring helps reduce residue levels, dries excess soil moisture, and causes soil temperature to rise because of increased exposed to the sun. To gain the benefits of tillage in the seed zone, while retaining the needed soil-erosion and moisture-saving benefits of no-till, a hybrid tillage system, strip-till, was created.

This new equipment varies by manufacturer, but in a basic configuration consists of coulters, disks, and a subsurface knife for injecting fertilizer. Strip-tillage can be performed in the fall or spring before planting.

Early planting is beneficial for corn production in southeast and east central Kansas. Dryland corn in this region must be planted early (mid-March to early April) in order to reach the critical tassel-silk-pollination stage before hot and dry conditions occur, usually by mid- to late-July. At the same time, conservation tillage practices with subsurface nutrient placement are being encouraged to reduce soil erosion and nutrient runoff losses. These two factors can be at odds, since heavier amounts of surface residue and less tillage often means colder and wetter soils in early spring, which creates a poor seedbed for corn.

Strip-till is sometimes considered a better tillage system than no-till for dryland corn production on poorly-drained, heavier or claypan soils, which are prevalent in southeast and east central Kansas, since strip-till creates a narrow zone of tillage in the seed rows, with a loosened raised seedbed, while leaving crop residue in the row middles. This usually creates a warmer, drier seedbed for corn than no-till.

Strip-till has generally resulted in higher dryland corn yields than no-till in east central Kansas, and many of the environmental benefits of no-till can be matched with strip-till.