Ever since the industrial revolution, farming has become modern and mechanised just like several other aspects of our lives. Machines have made all aspects of farming simpler and more fruitful. Present-day technological advances have allowed for several improvements to the machines used for agriculture.
Different machines may be used for different stages of farming. Tillage is one of the most important steps in farming. It not only prepares the soil for the next round of plantation but also makes enriches its organic matter. Tillage is crucial for seedbed preparation, residue management, weed removal and preparing the soil for the next round of crops.
Here are some tillage tips for 2020:
Ensure a consistent soil level
It is important that the soil is levelled across the field without any ridges or furrows. No matter what implement, the machine settings would determine its effectiveness in levelling soil and cutting crop residue. Do not forget to read the instructions manual that comes with your tillage system and determine the best settings for your application.
Reduce tractor weight
Who would have thought that the weight of your tractor can be a deciding factor for a good crop yield? To avoid rut formation and wheel track compaction in the soil, reducing the weight of your tractor is important.
A higher tractor weight can lead to increased density of your topsoil, which will give poorer plantation results. You can even remove some air from the tyres to minimise impact and subsequent soil compaction.
Minimize herbicide use
Herbicides may seem like quick and painless means to get rid of nutrition-stealing weeds. However, removing weeds using a harrow also increases the amount of organic mulch in the soil. This, in turn, increases water retention and prevents soil erosion.
Using chemicals to fend off weeds is also not environmentally sustainable. Crops cultivated on herbicide-treated side can be dangerous for human consumption in the long run. It also makes the fields unfit for further plantation.
Choose the right time
Tilling your farm at the wrong time is extremely risky. If you did not till your farm in autumn, either do not till the soil in spring or choose strip-tilling. Aerate the soil using a harrow to aid plantation in such soils.
Spring chiselling, an alternative to harrow-based tilling, can lead to clod formation in the soil. To get rid of the clods, another round of tillage becomes necessary. Over-tilling is associated with a separate set of problems. So, this season, till your fields smartly.
Choose the right implement
Choosing the right implement to till your fields has become a necessity. The factors that determine whether a tillage machine is good have now leapt beyond costs and efficiency alone. The right harrow can help you pursue sustainable agriculture in your farms. When tilled rightly, the soil can get an improved structure and increased carbon content.
The right implement will also be easy to operate and help improve fuel efficiency and work speed. It will also help you follow our previous tip of herbicide reduction. Thus, choosing the right machine could alleviate your dependence on chemicals to remove weeds.
Do not over-till
As is the case with most things in life, do not overdo tillage. Over-tilling will break down soil aggregates to fine particles. This would be deleterious for your crops. Water does not seep through such fine particles and causes the formation of cracked soil. Such soil formations do not allow air or water to permeate through them.
The field manager and the person-in-charge of monitoring soil quality should make decisions based on their evaluation. The evaluation would include an assessment of soil conservation practices, crop residue levels and soil architecture. Proceed with another round of tillage only when the evaluation results suggest a benefit.
As you religiously follow our tillage tips in 2020, do check out Kelly Tillage’s CL1 and CL2 disc chains. These harrows can meet all your tillage requirements and help in weed control and seedbed preparation. These machines are made in Germany with impeccable precision and used all over the world. Kelly can improve your tillage by ensuring higher speed and efficiency and reducing herbicide costs and content. Get ready to smoothly plough your way through 2020!