- Replace worn sweeps, blades, and harrows
- Level tillage tools
- Set working depths
- Monitor speed
- Avoid Compaction
Developing a good seedbed is important to get the crops off to a good start; yet often overlooked or difficult to obtain. Seedbeds need to have uniform residue distribution, loose aerated soil structure, and a level soil profile on both the surface and at the working depth of shanks or blades. As we move into spring consider the following:
REPLACE: Now is a good time to check spring tillage tools for damage and wear. Replace worn shovels, blades, and harrow components. It is difficult to do a good job with worn ground-engaging components.
LEVEL: Make sure tillage implements are level fore to aft and side to side. An un-level field cultivator will cause some shanks to go in deeper than others, which will create undulations in the subsurface soil profile and affect seed placement. Corn plants that emerge late become runt plants, with reduced yield potential. Un-level discs can quickly cause drainage issues by creating hills and valleys in the field. Check the tool’s side-to-side and fore-to-aft level. Each Sunflower tillage tool operator’s manual contains a step by step procedure to accurately adjust the tool for optimum performance.
DEPTH: Be sure to carry some weight on wheels. It is sometimes tempting to retract tires completely to allow tools to work as deep as they will go; don’t do it. This will nullify every leveling and depth adjustment made to the tool and lead to fields with little seedbed uniformity as the tool will have variable depth based on soil conditions.
SPEED: Follow operator manual recommendations. Too much speed may cause field cultivator shanks to relieve, leading to an un-level soil profile and potential weed escapes. Too much speed when operating a disc will cause soil to be thrown off the front disc gang past the point of no return. This will cause an un-level field, possibly leading to surface drainage problems.
AVOID COMPACTION: In addition to these machinery recommendations, it is important to avoid working wet soils in the spring to “dry out” fields. Research proves that the first pass creates 80% of field compaction. This cannot be eliminated until soils are dry again—likely in the fall. Compaction layers impede root development. It is also detrimental to work fields too wet just prior to the planter. This leads to poor seed-to-soil contact. If you can form a mud ball that won’t easily fall apart, the soil is too wet.
*e-GronomyTM is a new concept from AGCO that relates how AGCO equipment (e) performs to improve the agronomic (Gronomy) health of the crop.
By: Darren Goebel, Director – Global Commercial Crop Care
- Improve Farm Profitability
- Reduce Nutrient Losses
- Improve Nutrient Use Efficiency
- Increase Yield
- Reduce Nutrient Stratification
Growers are always looking for ways to improve farm profits, even more so in a down commodity market. One opportunity to achieve better margins is incorporation of fertilizer banding into nutrient management programs. Banding nutrients, as shown above, allows producers to variably apply nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, blending the right source at the right rate in the right place, at the right time. These are the four R’s of nutrient management that improve farm profitability and promote environmental stewardship.
Why Banding? Banding concentrates fertilizer in the root zone. This is beneficial in several ways. Read the rest of this entry »
Today’s farmers have to overcome numerous hurdles in preparing optimum seedbeds: hard-packed soil, heavy residue left over from genetically modified crops, erosion concerns, and continued demands for speed and efficiency. To meet the challenge, Sunflower offers more than 100 models and configurations of seeding and tillage tools, each designed to help enhance seed-to-soil contact for rapid and uniform emergence. That means more efficiency, better yields, higher profits.
After almost 70 years of excellence, farmers have come to trust Sunflower. It’s a name synonymous with quality and dependability. Now, that same excellence can be found in new Sunflower Genuine Tillage Parts, such as blades, sweeps, chisels and points.
Just like having the right-sized tractor to pull these exceptionally effective and efficient implements, replacement parts are critical to the best-in-class operation of Sunflower Seed and Tillage tools.
Visit a Sunflower dealer to ask for Sunflower Genuine Tillage Parts.
Sunflower® is expanding its tillage offering to include the new 6650-48 vertical tillage tool as part of the 6600 Series, along with two larger split-wing disc harrows from the 1436 Series. The 6650-48 provides farmers with a class-leading, true working width of 47ft, 11 inches. The new split-wing 1436SW models provide 600 pounds-per-foot of residue-cutting weight for tough residue management operations.
“Sunflower® is excited to offer the 6650-48 vertical tillage tool to today’s conservation-minded farmers,” says Larry Kuster, AGCO senior marketing specialist for tillage. “It provides a significant boost in productivity by harnessing the potential of high-horsepower tractors with the ability to cover more than 38 acres an hour.”
- Sunflower Saber Blades™, combined with proven staggered offset gang design in a large-width, five-section 6×6-inch frame, provide superior performance in the field, all while folding to transport dimensions of 18 feet, 2 inches wide and 13 feet, 11 inches high.
- The blade design and 18-degree offset gang angle of Sunflower vertical tillage tools provide optimum performance in cutting and sizing crop residue. The residue left behind by these tools creates a surface that is resistant to wind and water erosion.
- The frame features thicker-wall 6×6-inch tubing (3/8-inch thick in high-stress areas) for a stronger, heavier frame, and is cross-braced and gusseted for added strength and maintenance-free service.
- The 6650-48 rides on a patented walking triple design, which uses two walking-beam pivot points to create a series of walking tandem wheels.
Manufacturers are switching their focus from moisture conservation implements to full-tilt tillage tools as waterlogged fields become the muddy new norm rather than the exception.
In response to farmer demand, Sunflower introduced two new implements in September: the 6650-48 vertical tillage tool and two split-wing 1436 disc harrows.
Dennis Lewallen, chief engineer on both cultivator projects, said there are valid reasons why farmers are adding tillage implements to their equipment lineups.
The bottom line is that zero tillage has inadvertently created four distinct problems for farmers that only tillage can fix:
“More weeds are becoming resistant to chemicals, so some form of tillage is necessary.”
Weed specialists in the northern Great Plains states and across the prairie provinces are nearly unanimous in their belief that glyphosate was too easy to use and farmers came to rely on it too much. Herbicide resistance is the ugly result.
Many regions have had almost a decade of above-average rainfall, but some farmers are still adjusting to the idea that they should do everything possible to conserve soil moisture. Those waterlogged fields need tillage to dry the soil.
Tire ruts have become another big factor because of the mud, and tire ruts don’t take care of themselves.
However, it’s not only muddy conditions that call for surface tillage. Depending on soil type, long-term zero till fields can develop a rough surface that’s hard on sprayers and combines.
Many zero-till producers are beginning to realize that the frost they once figured would break up soil compaction isn’t doing the bang-up job they assumed it would.
Read the full article on The Western Producer.