Strip-till and precision farming — nearly the same age, but different stages of development. Think back to when the first yield monitors were going into combines, and when the first fertilizer applicators were being put on even rows to strip-till instead of the odd row configuration legacy from sidedressing.
All happened about the same time, plus or minus 30 years ago. But what happened to these two emerging technologies? Precision farming kept developing, growing and becoming mainstream.
Strip-till did develop and adapt, but it is still far from mainstream. But that is starting to change. Precision is not a driver of strip-till adoption. But it is one absolute requirement for strip-till to work and work well.
That is why we now see strip-till starting to really gain traction — the ag technology knowledge, infrastructure and installed base is in place. The tables will turn, and strip-till will repay the favor to precision farming.
Symbiosis is quite the word. One definition from biology is “different organisms, mutual benefit.” Precision is about electronics, technology in the “high tech” way. Strip-till still suffers from the image of being “tillage,” as in dumb iron.
Neither is actually true. The reality — and benefit for those in the precision business — is that strip-till is all about the technology, both smart iron and electronics, and precision is, too. Imagine guidance without steering valves that work.
The symbiosis of precision farming and strip-till goes like this. Strip-till is the most effective way to farm, as in, it gives the farmer the best combination of environmental, agronomic and economic results. And, it offers the highest return on input investment, from diesel fuel to fertilizer to seed to machinery.
“The encouragement to precision farming dealers is this — strip-till farmers, both experienced and new, are a great source of revenue growth…” –Jayme Paquin
Effective and efficient are absolute requirements for farmers to survive, and thrive, in these times of very low to negative margins. Gaining $20 and acre is a big deal right now, and strip-till can make way more than that.
But — and this is a big but — and it’s one of the main reasons why strip-till is just now starting to really take off, all of that efficiency and effectiveness, depends on being able to actually plant on the strip, not off to the side of it, for the maximum seed and plant utilization of all the benefits of the tillage in the strip.
That tillage benefit is multiplied with the more effective and efficient utilization of nutrients in the strip, which also takes electronic control systems. High level guidance, and control systems are integral to strip-sill success, in a way that no other practice or operation on the farm requires, except planting.
Opportunities for Precision Dealers with Strip-Till.
The encouragement to precision farming dealers is this — strip-till farmers, both experienced and new, are a great source of revenue growth. They are constantly learning more about this “new,” more effective and efficient way of farming, and they know they need the highest level of precision technology, and support, to make strip-till work to its full potential.
As strip-till continues to move mainstream, those leading farmers will also utilize leading precision technologies.