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Farm Progress Show Tillage Demos Will Be More RealisticFarm Progress Show Tillage Demos Will Be More Realistic

New format will allow vertical tillage tools to run at speed.

Tom Bechman 1

August 25, 2011

2 Min Read

Maybe you haven't yet bit the bullet and bought a vertical tillage tool, but you're thinking about it. If you want to see them in action one more time before you decided on the concept, and on which model fits you best, head toward Decatur, Ill., and the 2011 Farm Progress Show this week. Weather permitting companies who choose to do so will demonstrate vertical tillage tools during the tillage demonstrations each afternoon. The demonstrations will most likely be into corn stalks, following up after where the combines demonstrated and shelled corn that morning.

Mark Lovig, who helps organize field demonstrations for the Farm Progress Show, says they had so many requests to alter the rules to allow vertical tillage tools to go as fast as they are designed to run, that they created a category so they could do so. Speed of tillage tools is usually limited for safety reasons.

However, nearly every vertical tillage tool on the market is made by someone recommending that they run between 7 and 9 miles per hour, if not higher. Most companies also recommend that they be run at a shallow depth, say 1 to 2 inches. The idea is to break the surface and do enough mixing of soil and residue to begin the residue breakdown process, without leaving a lot of soil bare.

Tests a year ago by Indiana Prairie Farmer determined that although the residue was in smaller chunks, the residue cover in soybeans planted two weeks earlier into a vertically-tilled field was only about 10% less than the residue where soybeans had been drilled into the same kind of soil under similar weather conditions.

To achieve leaving that much residue, the machines must be ran at a rapid speed. Lovig says the new rules for vertical tillage machines should allow them to operate at speeds which allow the manufacturer to show what their machine can do.

At least nine companies are now offering their own version of a vertical tillage tool. A good number of them are expected to be on display at the show, and most of them should also be in the field for tillage demonstrations, weather permitting.

Most conservation sources say that while vertical tillage tools help soil dry out if run in the spring, they are also good to do enough mixing to let breakdown of residue start if run in the fall.

About the Author(s)

Tom Bechman 1

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm

Tom Bechman is an important cog in the Farm Progress machinery. In addition to serving as editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer, Tom is nationally known for his coverage of Midwest agronomy, conservation, no-till farming, farm management, farm safety, high-tech farming and personal property tax relief. His byline appears monthly in many of the 18 state and regional farm magazines published by Farm Progress.

"I consider it my responsibility and opportunity as a farm magazine editor to supply useful information that will help today's farm families survive and thrive," the veteran editor says.

Tom graduated from Whiteland (Ind.) High School, earned his B.S. in animal science and agricultural education from Purdue University in 1975 and an M.S. in dairy nutrition two years later. He first joined the magazine as a field editor in 1981 after four years as a vocational agriculture teacher.

Tom enjoys interacting with farm families, university specialists and industry leaders, gathering and sifting through loads of information available in agriculture today. "Whenever I find a new idea or a new thought that could either improve someone's life or their income, I consider it a personal challenge to discover how to present it in the most useful form, " he says.

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