Lebanon Crop Management Video

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04 February 2011

Vertical Tillage Thoughts - Del Voight Senior Extension Agent- Penn State Extension

K State Video of theory behind Vertical Tillage
I liked this video from K state.  I took part in some demonstrations and have not had the time to get all the video compiled.  Here are some ideas and thoughts I have learned over the last few years.
Thoughts on Vertical Tillage. Needs more attention and research.
  1. It violates the definition of No till by the NRCS stating no full width tillage. Like it or not that is there stance.
  2. I have found it useful to warm soils where soybeans are to be planted in the spring. Research into this probably will find an early season growth differential.
  3. There are differences between manufacturers.  Some are fixed meaning they cannot be adjusted similar to the Great Plains Turbo Till and some can be made to perform as aggressive as the producer needs and can be viewed as a primary tillage tool in some circles.
  4. I would expect research to yield data to support quicker break down of residue due to mixing of the soil with the residue. I would expect little yield affect for corn and more perhaps for soybeans alfalfa, and wheat( even though I dislike growers planting wheat into corn for obvious reasons)
  5. Some growers in my area have retrofitted old discs with straight discs and made their own vertical tillage tool.
  6. Thinking about residue management, more work needs to be looked into using stalk processors on the head to allow for more uniform spread and breakdown over winter perhaps equallying the benefits of vertical tillage. I have seen planting issues with intact corn stalks pinning and pushing residue. I did not see this with a stalk processing head or flail chopped fodder.
  7. Leveling of the soil?  from what I have seen with a fixed type vertical tool there is little soil movement that would fill in holes or rills. Perhaps the more aggressive options could do that.
  8. On heavy soil where surface compaction is an issue research may prove this as a useful tool particularly where we do not "mind our manners" by getting on the soil when wet.
  9. Seeding cover crops post vertical tillage may prove beneficial for speed and seed to soil contact.  \
  10. SLUGS I did have a grower whom firmly believes his slug issue has been minimized by using vertical tillage spring and fall.  More work needs to capture that effect.
  11. How far away from a light disc is vertical tillage?
More work needs to be done in this area. Alot of growers have purchased these tools and like them that might be the true assessment.  I also  have growers that tried them and have opted not to purchase. Everyone has a different set of issues and they need to make the final notes.

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