Recent increases crop acres managed by individual producers, rising fuel and equipment costs, the desire to plant crops in a timely manner, and catastrophic erosion events have renewed interest in conservation tillage systems. Historically, no-till management has been a challenge for corn production in Wisconsin because residue has slowed the warming of the soil in the spring. Residue can also physically impair planting by plugging within the planting unit and “hair-pinning” in the seed slot. Therefore most no-till corn planters have been modified to include some type of in-row residue management attachment, either as finger coulters or disks that are designed to move some residue from the row, without substantial contact with the soil. Many producers are now considering more aggressive attachments or separate tillage operations that not only address residue concerns, but till the soil to some degree with the goal of capturing the production advantages of full-width tillage, while offering the soil conservation benefits of no-till. This practice has come to be known as strip-tillage.
Soil Science Extension
University of Wisconsin Madison