Cropside: Aiming for 30 percent in 2012, good tillage practices for the year ahead

AGRONOMIC INFORMATION FROM ONTARIO'S CROP SPECIALISTS

Greg Stewart, Corn Specialist, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

CONSERVATION TILLAGE AIMS to achieve the benefits of tillage without compromising the benefits of residue cover. Maintenance of 30 percent residue ground cover has been identified as the critical level which still provides significant protection against wind and water erosion. Over the years, a lot of discussion, research and promotion has centered on achieving 30 percent residue cover, but evidence suggests this trend has reversed in recent years. Here are a few suggestions to help producers develop plans this fall that can lead to greater soil conservation.


fall tillage unnecessary
There is very little research to suggest that fall tillage of  soybean stubble results in any economic advantage to next year’s corn crop.


use new tools

Use the wide variety of vertical tillage tools available today to prepare seedbeds while maintaining high residue levels.


compaction management

Producers determined to eliminate compaction caused in 2011 should try and do so without burying significant residue.


reduce spring tillage
On many soils, a seedbed left relatively smooth with good residue cover can be planted directly without any further residue reducing spring tillage. •

About Greg Stewart 24 Articles

Corn Specialist, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs