Published May 31, 2006 | By David Sass, Pioneer Agronomist
Orthman and Pioneer Hi-Bred hosted a zone tillage field day on May 16 to demonstrate the usefulness of reduced tillage in double crop triticale and corn in the Magic Valley of Idaho. The field day was a great success as the Orthman One Trip-r prepared an excellent seed bed for the corn seed and the sub-soil shanks removed the compaction zones in the soil profile.
There are two ways to increase profits on a farm, reduce input costs or increase yields. The Orthman 1tRIPr may accomplish both. Triticale is a winter annual forage crop that is harvested in mid-May, then corn is planted in the field for the remainder of the growing season. The challenge has been to prepare an adequate seed bed in the tritcale stubble. Most farmers disk the stubble twice and then plant. This leaves a very rough seed bed and leaves the sub-soil compaction zones in place. Also, fields worked in this manner have to be dammer diked at lay by for a total of three passes across the field to grow corn.
The other option is to no-till corn into the stubble. In this case, the compaction zones from the triticale harvest traffic are left in place. Also, the stubble slows growth of the corn seedlings and controlling planting depth through the changes in soil density is very difficult.
The Orthman 1tRIPr will prepare a seed bed 10 inches wide where the corn will be planted and leaves the stubble in between the row. This eliminates 2 passes across the field from conventional tillage and allows even planting depth and faster seedling growth compared to no-till. It also removes deep compaction zones in the soil from harvest traffic better than either system. The consistent soil density through out the rooting zone will allow the corn crop to access deeper moisture in the soil profile and should reduce stress during the critical pollination period increasing yield potential. The final benefit would be to eliminate dammer diking as the tricale stubble may hold the water in place during irrigations and limit runoff.
The 1tRIPr has the potential to eliminate two tillage passes from the field prep going corn for a reduction in input costs. It may also increase yields by giving a superior medium for root growth. An additional benefit is time. During the mid to late May planting period for corn following triticale every day planting is delayed reduces yield potential. Beyond using the 1tRIPr as a tillage machine, planter units can be attached to the One trip-r to complete tillage and planting in one pass immediately after completion of triticale harvest. This feature has the potential to save even more time than just the reduction in tillage passes.