Research Shows Higher Yields with Fewer Input Dollars

Precision liquid fertilizer placement and strip tillage an efficient combination

YUMA, Colo. (May 28, 2008) – New research reveals how strip tilling, in combination with precision liquid fertilizer placement, can increase efficiencies and profitability.

“This information comes at a time when growers are forced to critically analyze inputs due to demands on their time, and to rising costs of fertilizer and fuel,” said Arnold Page with Agri-Inject, a manufacturer of fertigation equipment.

According to tillage trials conducted at Orthman Research Farm in Lexington, Neb., growers now have the opportunity to minimize inputs yet still maximize dollars from grain. Research showed that a combination of precision liquid fertilizer placement with an Agri-Inject micro-tube system and strip tilling with an Orthman Manufacturing 1tRIPr preplant tillage tool can result in:

• Improved efficiency of fertilizer placement

• Decreased fertilizer and tillage costs

• Decreased labor and time

• Increased opportunity to improve yields

• Ultimately, increased profitability

“Our plots compared conventional tillage with broadcasted dry fertilizer vs. strip till plots with liquid fertilizer applied in the tilled zone at 4- and 9.5-inch depths,” said Mike Peterson, agronomist with Orthman Manufacturing. “With our research, we wanted to prove to growers that we can not only save them dollars, but also equal or increase their yields – and we did see dramatic yield increase and improved efficiency.”

In fact, average yield of the strip till plots was 179 bushels/acres, while the conventional till plots yielded an average of 154 bushels per acre.

Strip tilling allows growers to make one pass to prepare the seed bed, plant and fertilize vs. conventional till’s multiple passes to chisel, disk, smooth, plant and fertilize. “We estimate that strip till costs approximately $18 per acre, while conventional till can cost up to $45 per acre even before planting,” Petersen added.

Using a micro-tube system enhances the strip till advantage by pumping a uniform stream of liquid fertilizer through a network of small, flexible yet durable polypropelene plastic tubes. “The driver controls the flow pump from the tractor cab,” Page said. “He can apply precise amounts for consistent results depending on soil profile, grade and other factors.”

The precise placement of fertilizer directly below the seed means that plant roots do not have to search for nutrients and they take off quicker. All this leads to better root zone development and opportunities for those higher yields while using less fertilizer.

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