After years of sitting parked in a forgotten corner of the equipment yard, tandem disks have returned to Mid-South fields in a big way this spring as farmers smoothed up ruts left from wet conditions during harvest last fall and cleaned up resistant horseweed.
Although most would agree disking was needed in many fields, Extension specialists are reminding growers reduced tillage systems still have a place, especially in corn, which appears to be well-suited for no-till.
In fact, no-till planting has become the most common form of conservation tillage in corn, according to the latest report of the West Lafayette, Ind.-based Conservation Tillage Information Center. The CTIC surveys growers on their tillage practices annually.
“Yields (from no-till) have been steady with conventional till and are increasing with better hybrids and methods of weed control,” says the National Corn Growers Association’s Bill Chase. “Of course, conservation benefits, including erosion control, moisture and fuel and time savings, can help farmers’ profits and state of mind.”
More than one-third of the NCGA-sponsored National Corn Yield Contest’s 3,154 entries were in the no-till/strip-till categories. Three of the five highest yields in the 2006 contest were from no-till/strip-till fields.
According to the CTIC’s 2006 Crop Residue Management Survey, no-till now accounts for 20 percent of all corn acres in the survey areas. In Nebraska, 46 percent of corn acres surveyed are in no-till.