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Blacksandfarmer
Senior Advisor

Advice for no-till

So after a few years of chisel and disc before corn planting, I've decided to go no-till next year. When I started farming several years ago, I no-tilled out of necessity (I couldn't afford a good disc). So I no-tilled soybeans into corn stalks my first year. I had a decent stand and halfways decent yield. I did however find that when I got into clay spots of the field the seed trench would not close properly or it would bake open. So I decided to invest in a used disc, and my grandfather let me use his chisel plow prior to planting corn and just discing corn stalks prior to planting beans. That system has worked out fine, but it gets expensive and sometimes I wonder if I gain much out of tillage, especially on our sandy loam fields. I see we have more planter attachements now than just a few years ago that look like they would work well for no-till. Since my planter is not set up for no-till, I may trade it for one that is. I have never worked with liquid fertilizer; I have broadcasted fertilizer for years. I know to make no-till work in this area I will need a liquid fertilizer setup on the planter. I was thinking of investing in Martin trash wheels and Schlagel Posi closing wheels. Do any of you have experience with either the Martin tills or schlagels? Would you recommend anything different? What are the most important management issues you faced in no-till farming? Thanks in advance.

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12 Replies

Re: Advice for no-till

it took me a long time to figure it out. my main breakthrough was putting the case ih style tires on the guage wheels. it made all the difference in the world. then i put yetter sharktooth row cleaners on . really like them. i don't plant corn after corn so i get along fine with the original closing wheels but a lot of guys aroud here use one spike and one rubber. it makes it nice when you can spray autumn or a similar product in the fall but only use it on fairly flat ground due to erosion.

 hope this helps. as far as fertilizer i use dry DAP but the liquid guys here put starter on the seed and 28 beside the row

 

 

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Pat in CMO
Senior Contributor

Re: Advice for no-till

I'll agree with Rawhide on the Case IH style or RID gauge wheel tiresmaking a big difference. They don't pack the soil right next to the seed slot making it easier to close. I have an old JD7000 planter with Yetter coulter/row cleaner combos, RID gauge wheel tires and one 15" shoup spike and one rubber closer wheel and drag chains. Have planted all my corn no-till with this setup for several years. It works good for me. I even planted 70 acres of corn into knee high crimson clover this year and it worked great. If you're plannig on trading planters many CaseIh guys swear you need no extra attachments to no-till with a red planter.  Patrick

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Shaggy98
Senior Advisor

Re: Advice for no-till

I have a CIH 1200 that I have used for no-till the last 4 years. I generally plant milo into the previous years wheat stubble so heavy thick residue generally isn't an issue for me. Last year I tried about 200 acres do corn no-tilled into milo stalks with no issues. I just split the 30" rows and the GPS did a good job of keeping me on target. I've got no added additional attachments on my setup and don't even use coulters or row cleaners in front of the openers. I use spiked closures on both sides and it works well for all conditions. Keep in mind I'm in Central Kansas and my conditions are generally more arid which means I probably won't have near the residue of someone located in the corn belt.

This next topic seems to be a love/hate relationship, but cover crops in my opinion have a significant place in all no-till operations. The problem with cover crops is they almost need to be tailored to our individual operations and can take a few years to get them dialed in. Weed suppression, erosion control, soil building and compaction removal are a few of the symptoms that a properly planned and executed cover crop program can benefit.

Lastly, stick with it. I've been told it takes a few years (3-5) to truly start to see the added benefits of a no-till system. Call it bad/good timing on my part, but ironically the first year I switched to no-till production was also the first year of our on going drought. This being said, I don't know what to blame my yield reductions on no-till or drought. I haven't given up however, I'm bound and determined to stick with it and make it work.
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Re: Advice for no-till

CIH guage wheels, spiked closing wheels with drag chain work best here.  Also use row cleaners.

 

Have land that has not been tilled in over 20 years, corn/soybean rotation.  Just recently started using cover crops, feel they have a place with the system.  I agree the cover crops will help with them clay spots.  Our clay spots have really loosened up over the years.  Also like the fact that we don't get near the erosion as with tillage.  Also cannot dig a hole with a spade without finding worms.

 

Local tile guy says he really likes working with the no till farms, says the ground is a lot more mellow and he can go faster.

 

Good luck and stick with it, will take time to see the benefits and don't be afraid to try something new!

 

Look at it this way, yes you will have a lot of money into the planter, but that is the only piece of tillage equipment you are maintaining!

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buckfarmer
Senior Contributor

Re: Advice for no-till

I've got a post somewhere on here about adding some of this stuff to my planter. I think the biggest improvement was heavy downforce springs.
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Pat in CMO
Senior Contributor

Re: Advice for no-till

I agree with Shaggy on the cover crops. Here anyway. A couple years ago I did fall burndown on most of my acres and a cereal rye cover on about 40 acres. We had some heavy rains and the fall burndown ground had erosion problems. The ground with the cereal rye had no noticible erosion that I could tell. It was nice not to have anything to burndown before planting, but not worth the tradeoff of erosion in my opinion. Also there were obvious weed control advantages later in the season with the cover.  Patrick

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Blacksandfarmer
Senior Advisor

Re: Advice for no-till

Thank you all for the advice. It seems everybody has a different method that works for them. I was more interested in cover crops earlier this year until a neighbor tried some cover crops in a couple fields next to ours. The plane must have overshot their fields and got plenty in ours. I have chisel plowed, disced, and spayed that stupid stuff (even when it was small) and it still wont die! My biggest concern is having the right planter setup for the job. For the most part our sandy loam fields should be easy to no-till into, but I do have one clay field that will be a challenge. I have looked into the Martin setup; it looks like it works well but could get pretty pricey for the trash wheels, guage wheels, and closing wheels. I also like the Case IH closing system but I dont want a cyclo planter. Im currently looking into a 1750 Deere planter. My 7200 has been a great planter but I get sick of the vacuum. Thanks again!

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Shaggy98
Senior Advisor

Re: Advice for no-till

BSF, don't completely ignore or give up on the cover crop approach.  Like I stated earlier it might take you a year or two to get it tweaked and dialed into what best fits your operation.

 

Changing production practices is 50% mental or emotional setbacks.  We might try something different for the first time and not like the results so we completely abandon the approach with the mind set that it won't work.  Trying different things on different acres is valuable in finding out what works best for our operation, and what might work well on one field might not be so favorable on another.  Patience is a virtue, hang in there and don't give up, I believe in the end you'll be glad you switched.

 

BTW, what do you dislike about your vacuum planter?  The CIH 1200 is the first and only planter I've ever owned so vacuum is all I know.  What is the next best or better alternative?

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Re: Advice for no-till

We have never had luck flying on cover crops either. In theory it seems the way to go, get them on early, before rains, etc. but never worked that way. Quickest is broadcasting with fertilizer, this works best if just before a rain and plenty of moister. If short on moister then drilling them in works. Of course last yeAr was so dry nothing worked.

We also grow some of our own seed, gives us a place for manure in the summer, learned to do germination test though. Once cover was terrible, germ test was under 50%, should have tested before planting!

Also just because nothing is seen does not mean the roots are not growing.
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