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RTK Applications: Strip-Till

by Sep 28, 2011SeedCommand®

For many years, agronomists from universities and consulting agencies have been pushing for more conservation tillage, such as strip-till.  The concept of fewer passes through the field in a crop season has some farmers seeing the benefit of lower labor and fuel cost.  Another advantage to strip-till is that it allows the farmer to manage equipment size and configuration, making controlled traffic a reality.  

For example, a 12-row strip-till rig can easily be matched with a 12-row planter and it can be pulled by the same tractor, so your compaction would be limited to the same rows year after year. The concept of strip-till is dependent on tilling an 8-inch strip two inches deep and is commonly combined with the yearly fertilizer and nitrogen application.  These strips incorporate the crop residue and prepare the seed bed at the same time as the application of the fertilizer.  This can be accomplished after harvest in the fall or in the spring before planting. 

Fall application has some advantages over spring; since the strips are a darker color than crop residue this allows for the soil where the seed will be placed to warm up more quickly than the rest of the field. As you can imagine the placement of the seed in the strip is paramount to the success of this system.  When the seed is properly placed it will be in closer proximity to the nutrients placed during the strip till operation and have a better chance to fully realize its full yield potential.


With seed placement so important in this tillage practice, the use of GPS guidance could make the job a lot easier.  With the need for repeatability between passes, which take place up to six or seven months apart, a high-accuracy GPS source is very important.  For this reason, RTK guidance gives the user the best result, with sub-inch accuracy and repeatability year in and year out. This gives the operator the best chance of placing the seed where it needs to be to get the best yield every time.  

For example, with Ag Leader's ParaDyme® integrated steering system, you have the ability to choose traditional base station RTK corrections or utilize a CORS Network to gain access to RTK corrections.  Paired with an Ag Leader® Integra display and our strip-till module, you get an all-in-one solution for your application, GPS and guidance needs. In addition, click here to read an article from Dakota Farmer of different strip-till equipment available.