by Kyle Frazier – Orthman Regional Product Specialist
With the 2015 harvest season upon us and with every producer eagerly watching the yield monitor to see what this year has produced, there is one common question that is being asked by almost everyone in the Eastern Corn Belt and that is “how severe is the water damage in the fields from a wet growing season”? Each and every producer I have spoken with talks about how well the yields are on high ground and how the yield falls off in the lower parts of the same field. The abundance of rainfall this year caused some very saturated field conditions throughout most of the growing season. With water infiltration being a problem this year, even though the focus may be on getting the crop out of the field, fall is the perfect time to start preparing for a successful 2016 growing season and improving water infiltration rates with your fall tillage program by using the proven technology of the Orthman 1tRIPr strip till system.
With Orthman’s three principles of successful strip till being optimal root zone conditioning, precision fertilizer placement, and ideal seedbed preparation, you are able to make one pass across the field after the combine and have it planter ready before spring. You may be wondering how this helps with the water infiltration issues that so many experienced this year. When you look at each principle individually, you can start to understand the benefits in more detail. With one of the principles being optimal root zone conditioning and a major factor limiting water infiltration rates being pore space and destruction of soil structure, less tillage passes across the field will allow for better soil structure and more pore space in the soil.
This will allow for higher water infiltration rates. When compared to a conventional tillage system that includes multiple passes across the field for tillage and seedbed preparation, where every pass is breaking apart the soil particles into smaller pieces and destroying the structure of the soil, the single pass of the 1tRIPr allows for more pore space and larger soil particles that improve water infiltration while still making an ideal seedbed.
A water infiltration rate measurement taken during the 2014 growing season in Atlantic, IA showed water will infiltrate the soil over two and a half times faster in a 1tRIPr system (5.51 inches/hour) verses a no-till system (2.08 inches/hour). A soil bulk density measurement taken at the same location shows a bulk density for the 1tRIPr system of 0.942 g/cm3 vs. no-till system of 1.416 g/cm3. Less bulk density represents less compaction in the soil. Decreased compaction and increased soil porosity allows for robust root growth and increased opportunities for water and nutrient uptake by the plant.
Soil porosity will directly affect soil aeration and water holding capacity, which in-turn affects root development and nutrient availability in the soil and all these factors will affect the end result of Yield.
So as you watch the rewards from your hard work being brought in from the fields this fall think about what you can do to raise the bar and prepare to raise a superior crop in 2016. The Orthman 1tRIPr strip till system is proven reliable with its three principle of successful strip till. Become more efficient and reap a better return on investment next year by using the 1tRIPr system, which has more acres under it around the world than any other system.