What is in this article?:
- Fine-tuning strip-tillage operations
- Risky practice?
- When soil conditions are adequate for strip-till operations, soil temperatures are typically too warm to apply nitrogen.
- Strip-tillage offers more flexibility than no-till since it is easy to combine deep placement of nutrients with the tillage operation to make the soil berms.
As harvest comes to an end, some growers will shift their focus to strip-tillage.
Fabian Fernandez, University of Illinois Extension specialist in plant nutrition and soil fertility, offers a few thoughts on applying nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium with strip-till this season.
Nitrogen applications with strip-till
Although nitrogen applications with strip-till can be done, Fernandez normally doesn't suggest this process for two reasons. First, when soil conditions are adequate for strip-till operations, soil temperatures are typically too warm to apply nitrogen.
He said combining these activities can save time, but it's important to wait until soil temperatures four inches below the surface are 50 degrees Fahrenheit and falling.
"Doing the application earlier represents too large of a risk of nitrogen loss to make it worth it," Fernandez said. "The use of strip-till does not justify changing the current recommendations for fall nitrogen application.
A potential drawback of combining anhydrous ammonia application with strip-till is that by the time conditions are adequate for fall nitrogen applications, the soil might be getting too wet for strip-till."
The second reason he does not recommend combining strip-till and nitrogen application is because of the potential for seedling injury from free ammonia.