What does that get you? Low cost, high yield farming.
And some pretty outstanding products.
How many of you believe the only way to handle residue is to bury it? The deeper the better?
That’s what we thought too 30 some years ago, but over time we began to notice the long-term ramifications of that practice such as soil erosion that was taking place, even on the deep, dark prairie soils with 2% and 3% slope.
We found that no-till worked well on the lighter soils and in more rolling situations, but not so much on the poorly drained, dark soils. When residue was buried deep into the soil and had been turned into an anaerobic zone, it appeared to undergo a pickling process instead of a decomposition process that produces nutrients for the next year’s crop. We now attempt to keep that crop residue in the aerobic zone.
Dave Larson used to say if the aerobic zone is deep in a given soil, deep tillage is acceptable. If it is only 2-3 inches, however, you need to work the residue into only the top 2-3 inches.
Think about it. Where does a fence post rot off? It always seems to be where the air and soil are mixed — the aerobic zone. Therefore that must be the point where the greatest amount of rot or decomposition takes place. We feel that an ideal system of residue management is one that incorporate the trash shallow in that aerobic zone and incorporates Residuce.
We have experimented with several tillage tools including disc chisels and heavy discs. They all work well. Crop residue is broken up and incorporated relatively shallow where maximum aerobic decomposition can take place. In a transition period, a stalk shredder can work well by creating smaller pieces with a lot of surface area for microbes to work on.
How about you? Have you had success using Residuce? How about specific tillage practices?
Until next time, happy trails!