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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Vertical Tillage 2

On September 29 I wrote my most popular blog ever.  It was about a tool I saw in action on a customer's farm.  Today I saw the same tool only on a 3 point hitch bar instead of a caddy and with 5 points instead of 7.  I have since learned that it is a no-till ripper made by DMI.  I do not endorse products or sell anything, but I do tell my customers when I see something that works.  The guy using this ripper is a long term no-tiller.  He has been using no-till long enough that he has a noticeable organic matter buildup in the surface 3 or 4 inches. 
One of the biggest complaints about no-till is that it makes the ground hard.  This year has been especially bad for compaction as this is third year in a row that we planted in wet soils.  Harvest in Illinois started out wet in September.  That early part of harvest added to compaction in many area.  Soils are now fairly dry, so they are very hard in many places.  If you look here regularly you may have seen on my link to Kelly Robertson's web page that he bought a power soil auger to help him deal with the hard soils. 
That should set the stage.  Today as I went over this customer's field, I sampled corn and soybean stubble.  The corn stalks had been ripped this spring and that was the only tillage operation.  The bean stubble had been ripped 2 years ago.  The customer was also ripping bean stubble today.  On what he had ripped today, my probe took almost no effort to push in.  On the corn stalks and bean stubble the ground probed as easily as anything I have sampled this fall.  I have sampled about 10,000 acres so far so that represents a good bit of land.  The soil moisture was good for no more rain than we have had.  My other customer told me that this tool helps him overcome the 10 bushel yield lag on his no-till. 
I know other manufacturers have similar tools and I am not saying don't look at those.  I am just saying if you have some land that needs to be no-tilled you should look into something like this. 

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