Corn School: Strip till fertility requires no-till mindset

How does strip tillage impact a corn plant’s ability to access and take up nutrients?

On this episode of RealAgriculture’s Corn School, Ben Rosser, corn lead at Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, looks at fertility research plots that compare how corn performs in both conventional tillage and spring strip tillage systems. In this trial, both plots have received the recommended rate of nitrogen, but no phosphorus or potassium.

Overall, Rosser notes that conventionally tilled corn is more “growthy,” much taller, and exhibits a healthier colour than the strip till corn. He’s seen the same response in plots for two consecutive years. He believes this growing evidence suggests that plants in a strip till system are not as efficient in accessing and taking up nutrients as corn planted in conventionally tilled systems.

From a strip till management perspective, Rosser suggests growers need to adopt a no-till mindset, and ensure they have a strong fertility package and good placement to optimize yield.

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