Did you know that there are two new resources on strip-tillage in Ontario? Earlier this year, OMAFRA released two factsheets on strip-till with information specific to Ontario’s climate, soils, and farmer experiences.
The first factsheet, called Strip-Tillage in Ontario: The Basics, provides an overview of strip-till, how it works, crops it’s used for, its benefits and how to integrate it into a cropping system. It includes basic information on shank vs. coulter machines, fall vs. spring tillage timing and effects on soil temperature and moisture.
The second factsheet, titled Strip-Tillage in Ontario: Making it Work, provides more detailed information. It discusses residue management, soil sampling and fertility, weed control, and cover crop integration within a strip-till system. Economic comparisons to different tillage systems are also provided.
Both factsheets draw on knowledge from OMAFRA specialists, North American research, and the experiences of early adopters of strip-till in the province. Whether you’ve just started looking into strip-tillage or you have already invested in the equipment, these factsheets are sure to have something for you. You can find them on the bmpbooks.com website, which includes the full Best Management Practices (BMP) series that has been developed by OMAFRA in partnership with the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Both factsheets are available in English and French.
Below is an excerpt from Strip-Tillage in Ontario: Making it Work:
Advice for growers considering strip-till
If you are thinking about starting into strip-tillage, consider the following common suggestions from Ontario strip-tillers:
• Evaluate equipment on-farm first – Many experienced Ontario growers have changed strip-till equipment at some point. Before making the jump, demo equipment on-farm to be sure it meets the needs of your system and the soils on your farm
• Think about the whole system – Strip-tillage is not a drop-in replacement for conventional tillage. Modifications to residue management, planters or other equipment may be needed to get the best results. Talk to other strip-tillers to find out how they integrated strip-till into their operations.
• Do not opt for the cheapest option – If you are making the investment into strip-till, you won’t be happy making sub-par strips. Find a machine that performs in your system and have the horsepower to operate at the speeds needed to make good strips.
• Strip-till operator should have planter experience – The strip-till operator must think like a planter operator to layout the field and judge seedbed conditions being made. This is a more demanding skillset than that required of a typical primary or secondary tillage operator
Keep an eye out for live strip-till demonstrations planned for Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show in September 2022 by OMAFRA and Soils at Guelph.