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ResearchStrip tillage, precise fertilizer net lower costs, higher yields

Agriculture.com Staff 05/30/2008 @ 1:57pm

The latest results of field trials conducted at a central Nebraska research farm show a combination of strip tillage and precision fertilizer placement ranked highest in a series of tillage and fertilizer tests.

Improved fertilizer efficacy and lower early-season input and fieldwork costs were two of the key benefits shown in the strip-till system in a series of trials conducted at Orthman Research Farm in Lexington, Nebraska. At the same time, the research results show that one-pass strip tillage, when combined with precise fertilizer applications, netted a corn yield of 179 bushels per acre in the trials, compared to the 154-bushel-per-acre average in conventional tillage test plots.

"We estimate that strip till costs approximately $18 per acre, while conventional tillage can cost up to $45 per acre even before planting," says Orthman Manufacturing agronomist Mike Peterson.

In these trials, fertilizer was applied with an Agri-Inject "Micro-Tube" system. In planting, small fertilizer injection tubes are placed just behind the seed tubes so the nutrients are applied directly to the newly planted seeds.

"[The farmer] controls the flow pump from the tractor cab," says Arnold Page, with Agri-Inject. "He can apply precise amounts for consistent results depending on soil profile, grade and other factors."

Page adds these latest field trial results show the value of precision fertilizer applications combined with minimum tillage, like strip-till, at an important juncture for farmers.

"This information comes at a time when growers are forced to critically analyze inputs due to demands on their time, and to rising costs of fertilizer and fuel," he says.

The latest results of field trials conducted at a central Nebraska research farm show a combination of strip tillage and precision fertilizer placement ranked highest in a series of tillage and fertilizer tests.

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