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DW46
Member

managing wheat ground without the plow

I'm looking for for an alternative to the moldboard plow. Many in my area are using rippers but my hp is limited. I'm seeing some smaller guys like myself using offset discs. I've also seen regular discs used. Any sugestions welcomed.

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9 Replies
Veteran Advisor

Re: managing wheat ground without the plow

What do you do with the straw.  That makes a difference in your options.

I've seen good results if the straw is baled or burned off the field, and then minimum-tilled, or even no-tilled.  If you have to go deeper, a chisel-plow will take less HP than a ripper, but won't create a hardpan layer like an offset disk will if it is wet underneath.

Are you continuous wheat, or in rotation?

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Advisor

Re: managing wheat ground without the plow

I know I've probably responded to one of your questions before..but I can't remember what part of the country you're in..and that makes a tremendous difference in how you handle that straw. If you're in Kansas..and you have no moisture to help decompose that straw...then tillage is probably going to be required to get it broken down (If you're dead set against no-till). If you're in the upper midwest..or east central part of the corn belt..you might be just as well off letting it stand....maybe running a residue tool through it once..and no-till into it. If I was going to plant corn..anywhere in the US (my catch all answer) I would probably strip till the residue once..and no-till corn back into it in the spring. If you're going to soybeans..you might as well no-till them...unless you plan on planting them before corn. That would probably need some kind of residue management plan to get the soil dried enough early to sow soybeans. It's not a question with one answer. I think I have some fields that I debated 3 different types of management on in 3 days this spring. Keep flexible..unless you go with strip till which you need to do in the fall...I think that might be the most cost effective, conservation minded, and economic type treatment.

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Advisor

Re: managing wheat ground without the plow

   In my heavy clay ground tillage is a must, even if the straw is baled off.  My usual practice is to chisel plow it and field cultivate once or twice and no till in it the next spring with beans or corn.  I tried no tilling into wheat stubble once and the planter slot wouldn't close up.  The ground stayed wet and wouldn't dry out.  I'm not a big fan of deep rippers that bring soil up from below.  Why bring all that unfertilized soil up top?

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DW46
Member

Re: managing wheat ground without the plow

I'm on heavy clay in SW Ontario. That sounds pretty simple. This year there"s not much straw and I had to cut low. Thanks

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Advisor

Re: managing wheat ground without the plow

NWO's system will work well for you. There are a couple things you need to consider. Every time you till that wheat stubble..you're going to reseed the wheat that's left behind...so you will have some volunteer wheat growing through the winter. To minimize that...chisel plow it...then try to get back and field cultivate it within 10 days. That way the plants you've torn up, but not completely killed with the chisel plow will be more inclined to die...and the seed that you have reseeded, will germinate..and then be killed by the field cultivation. Residue management is really tough with wheat..because of all the time there is for weeds to grow after it's harvested. If you have any perennials in your wheat...probably a shot of glyphosate before tillage wouldn't be a bad idea....and will definitely be more effective on them.

 

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Advisor

Re: managing wheat ground without the plow

   I forgot to say that making the last pass with a field cultivator later in the season also helps get rid of weeds, resulting in a cleaner field to work with the following year.  Dandelions are a major weed problem here with continous no till.  RU and 24-D works ok but not as good as a field cultivator with 9" shovels on 6" spacing.  It usually is nice planting into that stale seed bed.  Although it can sometimes stay wetter, especially following wheat.  The straw, even just from stubble sure holds the moisture.

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Advisor

Re: managing wheat ground without the plow

   Pupdaddy you're right, I forgot about the volunteer wheat, although it is easily killed off the next year with RU.   My suggestion is kind of in line with that thought of 1 pass with a FC soon after chisel plowing.   The later second pass will knock out the volunteer wheat.   This is quite a bit of tillage but you'll be glad you did it when you plant next year.   Also, if you have manure to spread, this is the time to do it.  Before chisel plowing.

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Frequent Contributor

Re: managing wheat ground without the plow

You guys find the straw won't break down because of the lack of moisutre? Thats interesting. Some of the guys over here would say chop the straw, spread and leave it, and let the stubble (cut longish) to help the soil dry out before you no-till. Overe here your John Deere 750A planter is real popular but they have different closing wheels (Guttler?) on them, the standard ones aren't enough to close the slot. 

 

I think it is more environmentally friendly, cheaper and surely faster to spray weeds/volunteers off rather than try to till them out, remember our (red) diesel is 60-70 pence a litre here so filling up an MX magnum gets expensive, fast.

 

Can you explain what the difference is between a chisel plow and ripper is for me thanks, maybe with pictures to illustrate?

 

We have cultivators for min-till like the Simba Solo, Horsch etc, mostly European designs. Take a lot of horsepower to pull. We also have subsoilers, which are deep working machines that just loosen the ground, without mixing the layers or bringing soil to the surface.

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Advisor

Re: managing wheat ground without the plow

..What do they say in real estate...it's all about "Location, Location, Location"...That seems to sum up the difference between your conditions for residue decomposition..and say someone from Kansas. Kansas typically only gets from 15-20 inches of rain per year. Here in Ohio, we get anywhere from 30-36 inches..and I'd wager in Western Ontario...they'll say from 28-34 inches of rain.  If you just stir the residue here in Ohio a couple times..it will break down pretty well, and won't be a problem to plant in the next spring. On the other hand..in Kansas..you might only be re-distributing a mulch that doesn't break down because it hasn't gotten enough moisture to allow the bacteria to work on it. Ontario has their own set of problems...with cooler temps earlier in the fall limiting the amount of time that the bacteria will be active for decomposition. As far as the difference between a chisel plow and ripper. Most chisel plows have multiple ranks of shanks, mounted with springs and they actually move a lot of soil around. There are 2 types of rippers here...parabolic..which lift and roll soil...and straight leg rippers which tend to lift..and fracture..but seldom roll soil. Another name for both of them would be subsoilers...they typically run from 12-15 inches deep with them.

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