TILLAGE NOT TILLAGE? PRECISION TILLAGE TILLAGE HOLDS ON

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TILLAGE NOT TILLAGE? PRECISION TILLAGE TILLAGE HOLDS ON

FAR LEFT: Salford dealer Don Droeschexplains that the shallow disc disturbsjust enough of the residue and soilsurface, while leaving firm soil to createa good seedbed, provided the seed dropsprecisely behind the coulter. | SalfordphotoBELOW: “The new drills are so heavyand they sink so easily... but we seed ateight miles per hour in wet fields, so thatmakes up for a lot,” says Alberta farmerMatt Kremeniuk discussing how hisSalford 1100 lets him go seeding whilehis main air drill sits on the sideline. |Salford photoby early afternoon and you can go seeding,”he said.“If you run the discs deeper than two anda half inches, or if you have any horizontal soilmovement, then you’re not doing true verticaltillage. When you do it right, the field shouldlook like a stick of butter after you gentlypulled your fork over the top. Just parallellines on the surface, that’s all.”Boak said there’s nothing wrong withhorizontal tillage if more soil disturbance isthe goal. It’s simply a matter of keeping intentand terminology straight.“The term vertical tillage used to refer todeep tillage, deep rippers, vertical rippers,inline rippers and all those practices deeperthan 13 inches that were intended to alleviatedeep compaction,” he said.“Today when we say vertical tillage,we’re referring to shallow disturbance in theseeding zone only. And never so deep that welose the firm seed bed.”Boak said the concept of shallow verticaltillage began to gain acceptance a decade agowhen some manufacturers started developingmachines that significantly reduced lateral soilmovement and caused only straight up andstraight down soil movement.“There were only a few of us building truevertical tillage machines: Salford, Summers,Great Plains, McFarlane down in Wisconsinand Phoenix, who went out of business.”He said the five competitors had a lot incommon. They all ran ripple discs, straightdiscs or a combination of both, but thediscs ran at a zero degree angle. They allhad harrows for residue management andrecommended a maximum working depth oftwo to 2.5 inches unless the field was badlyrutted.Running that shallow through trash coverdisturbs an inch of residue and the top inchof surface soil. It weakens the crust so theharrows can break it up.“Don’t go any deeper because you wantyour drill to place seed into firm soil that hasnot been worked,” he said.“If you run your vertical tillage machinedeeper, then you’ll be placing seed into loosesoil. We all know that loose soil is a problemwith any horizontal tillage or horizontal soilmovement. If you work the whole seed bedso it’s loose, you’ve got to go deeper to findfirm ground for the seeds.“Canola, for example, should go in atthree-quarters of an inch. So you’ll wantyour vertical till machine to leave you aboutthree-quarters of an inch of mixed soil andresidue.“Below that, you have the firm soil for thecanola seed.”Boak said other companies have recentlystarted labelling machines as vertical tillagetools, but they don’t meet the criteria. Theyeither work too deep or the discs run at anangle causing horizontal soil movement.“Smart-Till and Airway tried to fit thevertical till class, but they were deeperworking tools, not true vertical till,” he said.“Back in about 2006 or 2007, Case IH tooktheir 340 discer and bought some slightlydished blades for it and installed them on an18 degree angle. They called it vertical tillage,but it’s not. Discs at 18 degrees disturb a lotof soil.”Boak said Case opened the floodgate, andanyone who sold any type of disc cultivatornow had a vertical tillage machine on themarket.“None of this is vertical tillage. This is reallythe finest hour for horizontal tillage.”He said the Landoll VT has discs angledat 10 degrees on seven inch spacing, whichcreates lots of side movement of soil. It’s fullcultivation but not vertical tillage, he added.“These new European compact disccultivators are promoted by some localdealers as vertical tillage, but they do notmeet the criteria. Those are the Lemken,Joker, Amazon and Vaderstad,” he said.“A vertical tillage machine must have zerodegrees of angle on the disc. It must makea straight line in the soil and it must workshallow. If it cannot do those two things, it’snot true vertical tillage.”For more information, contact Boak at 519-670-1004 or visit www.salfordmachine.com. ❖5S u p p l e m e n t t o T h e We s t e r n P r o d u c e r

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