Soil type helps determine tillage type for terminating cover crops

For many farmers visiting Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show (COFS), the tillage demonstration has become a must-attend event.

Independent agronomist and long-time COFS field demonstration host Pat Lynch says farmers see the benefits of tillage and it’s important to keep up to date with the evolution of tillage equipment to understand how it can best fit their farm.

At the 2023 edition of COFS, the annual demonstration focused on the tillage of cover crops. Lynch says soil type often dictates how long growers can leave a cover crop and whether it needs to be terminated late fall or in the spring. Farmers can also use the knowledge of their soil and their cropping system to compare and contrast tillage implements.

“We have 12 to 14 pieces of equipment here,” says Lynch. “They can take a look at all the setups and mechanics of the tillage and figure out which ones would be best for them.”

Lynch also discussed changing farmer attitudes toward cover crops and tillage as well as the evolution of the equipment. “Some of these newer pieces of equipment are able to go shallower and that’s what we want,” he says. “Ideally, we want at least 30 per cent cover going into the winter. So that means if you’re starting now you want maybe 40 per cent of the ground covered. If you look at these different pieces of equipment, some have left more than that, others less.”

Lynch says tillage is a tough business and equipment does wear out. He notes that when farmers shop for new implements they’re often looking for little things that can make a big difference — things like disc angle and curvature, and lubricated bearings that don’t require greasing.

“While a piece of equipment may look the same, and have the same name, equipment companies have made a lot of minor adjustments and changes in alignment of these pieces of tillage equipment,” says Lynch.

Check out the full conversation below filmed at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show, brought to you by PRIDE Seeds.

Tap here for more COFS coverage.

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