In a world that is driven by innovation, and constantly on the verge of the newest, most sufficient system to implement on our farms. It is important that as farmers, we are open minded, and willing to try new systems on our farms. That not only benefit our operation, but also benefit the land that we strive to keep as fertile as possible. I will be comparing the different types of tillage systems that you might want to look into implementing on your ground. I will be discussing: conventional, no till, strip till, and ridge till.
Conventional tillage is full width tillage in which all of the soil surface is disturbed. This type of tillage is usually implemented prior to planting. This is mostly thought of as the most common type of tillage in our area. This generally involves intensive plowing or multiple tillage trips. This produces a very fine seedbed, and most of crop residue is completely removed.As pictured below, this is an example of a farmer implementing conventional tillage on their ground.
Strip till is often thought of as a conservation system that uses a minimum tillage system. The basics of this practice is that it combines the soil drying and warming benefits of conventional tillage, and also the soil protecting benefits that a no-till system would have. With this system only a portion of the soil is being disturbed. This is actually starting to grow in popularity because of rather than plowing the entire field, strips are tilled, leaving some residue, while allowing a space to be cleared for the seed bed. Here is a picture of what this system would look like.
Ridge-till is where the soil is left undisturbed from harvest to planting except for 1/3 of the row width. Planting is done on the ridge and usually involves the removal of the top of the ridge. The planting is completed with sweeps that level out the ridges. The crop residue is left in between the ridges. As you can see in this picture. This is also a good way to incorporate a conservation system that helps leave the soil in between rows with crop residue on it.
This is basically a system that leaves the soil undisturbed from harvest to planting. The goal of this is to literally have absolutely no tillage throughout the year except for planting. This is a conservation method that is starting to grow in popularity in many places throughout the United States. Many farmers have found benefits in this such as better soil quality, and less costs. Here is a picture of a field with no till. As you can see the crop residue is making the soil almost impossible to see. Leaving less erosion.
All of these systems have pros and cons. As farmers it is important to understand which system best suits your operation. Don’t be scared to try something new just because you have never implemented it before.
I am Phillip Dewald, a senior here at Western Illinois University. I am studying Agriculture Business, and plan to graduate this Spring. I am involved in Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity, as well as Agriculture Business Club. Western Illinois University, and in particular, the School of Agriculture has been a great ride and I am thankful for the many professors and mentors that have helped me along the way.