February 01, 2023

Strip-till machines reduce tillage while preparing seedbed for planting

DAVENPORT, Iowa — New John Deere strip-till machines provide farmers the opportunity to reduce tillage while applying nutrients and preparing the seedbed in one pass.

“With strip-till we are only tilling 8 to 10 inches of the 30-inch row,” said Megan Warin, John Deere tillage product line marketing representative. “We leave the rest of the soil undisturbed and allow the residue to stay there.”

The new John Deere series of strip-till equipment includes both integral and drawn models. Farmers can choose the ST12 and ST16 Integral or the ST12, ST16 and ST18 Drawn models.

The drawn 12- and 16-row models are available in 30-inch spacing, and for the 18-row, farmers can choose from 20- or 22-row spacing. Both the integral models are 30-inch spacing.

“The main difference between the drawn and integral is the way it hooks up,” said Warin during a John Deere Tillage Media Event. “The integral is connected with a three-point hitch and the drawn is hooked up with a drawbar.”

Another difference is the fertilizer capabilities.

“With the drawn model there is an integrated dry fertilizer system, with 10 tons of capacity to make it convenient for our customers,” Warin said.

“With the integrated tank scales, we are able to measure what we’re applying on the go,” she said. “The stainless steel meters are highly durable products that are really easy to clean and they have less corrosion.”

The most important aspect of strip-tilling, Warin said, is the ability to go back through with the planter and put seed right where it can take up the nutrients.

Farmers can choose to put coulters or shanks on their strip-till machines.

“The dual coulters are located right behind the lead coulter,” Warin said. “You can go faster with the coulters up to 10 mph versus the shanks at 8 mph.”

With the coulters, farmers can apply dry fertilizer.

“The dual coulters will mix the fertilizer in the soil and evenly distribute it across the 8- to 10-inch pass,” Warin said.

Blockage flow sensors give operators the confidence that there are no plugs in the system.

“They sense the vibration of the fertilizer going through the tube,” Warin said. “It will indicate when a row isn’t getting fertilizer and there’s a block.”

Row Cleaners

“The integrated air compressor powers the pneumatic down force and the air adjust row cleaners,” said Steve Sporrer, John Deere tillage product manager.

“The objective of the row cleaners is to push the residue out of the way, leaving the residue in the field, perform tillage and have a well-prepared seedbed for the plants to get started in,” Sporrer said.

The row cleaners can be adjusted by the operator in the tractor cab.

“Anything you need to adjust on a daily basis you can do in the cab,” Warin said. “The only adjustment you might have outside the cab is the shank depth and you probably won’t change that often.”

Rolling baskets are positioned on the back end of the strip-till machine.

“You can choose a round bar or a flat bar depending on the aggressiveness you want,” Warin said. “They are easily adjustable, so if you don’t want to use them, just flip them up, put a pin in and be on your way.”

“This machine has the ability for precise control of the rows not in the wheel tracks and in the wheel tracks,” Sporrer added. “We have two separate circuits so right from the cab we can adjust the pressures to have it operate consistently across the field.”

The hydraulic wing down force transfers the weight from the center out to the edges of the machine.

“With the coulters we’re performing a more vertical tillage so we need a way to transfer the weight out to make sure we have consistent depth across the machine in all conditions,” Sporrer said.

“With John Deere AutoPath, AutoTrac and AutoTrac Turn Automation, we are able to provide a full solution where the operator can come back in the spring and go right on these strips and the seed will go directly where you intended it to go,” Warin said.

Farmers can begin ordering the new John Deere strip-till machines in February and shipments will occur during the summer, so that they can be utilized in the fall next year.

Martha Blum

Martha Blum

Field Editor