The benefits of tillage prescriptions

The benefits of tillage prescriptions
Oct 08, 2021

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It’s another way farmers can optimize their fields, a Case IH rep said

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

Case IH is studying another area of precision agriculture.

Farmers have adopted prescriptions for other parts of their operation, but tillage usually isn’t part of that equation, said Chris Lursen, tillage marketing manager with Case IH.

“Throughout history, soil management has kind of been this peanut butter spread concept with one setting and doing a whole field at that setting,” he told Farms.com. “We can create prescriptions, just like with seed and fertilizer, to optimize each area of the field.”

Case IH agronomists experimented with prescriptions using the True-Tendem 335 VT last summer.

Taking soil characteristics and topography into account, they created a custom tillage plan on the test field.

They set the tillage tool to a 2.5-inch depth in some areas, 1.5 inches in others and zero-inch depth in additional parts of the field.

Each setting showed different results, said Alison Bryan, a research agronomist with Case IH.

“At 2.5 inches, we looked at residue coverage before and after running, and saw a reduction in residue there,” she told Farms.com. “At 1.5 inches, where we wanted some incorporation but didn’t want to be as aggressive, we did see a reduction in coverage, but it was more maintained. And at zero inches, we were able to knock down residue. By knocking it down, it still had the root there and maintained it in that area and increased the percent (of) residue coverage.”

Another experiment used the Case IH 875 disk ripper to alleviate soil compaction.

Bryan and her team set the tool at multiple depths.

“We ranged from five to 14 inches,” she said. “We saw a 10 percent higher productivity across five different fields with our prescription.”

Creating a tillage prescription can be as simple or complex as an individual farmer wishes.

Farmers already have their field information available. It’s a matter of setting the equipment up to perform accordingly, Lursen said.

“Generally, farmers are going to do maybe two or three settings, but they can do much more if they want,” he said. “It’s about allowing farmers to use the knowledge they have to implement it.”

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