November 23, 2011
**A detailed report (12 pages), along with an 8-page factsheet, 2-page brief, and a presentation are completed for our Vertical Tillage Special Project. Written materials are available at: www.uwdiscoveryfarms.org.
Soil Conservation: Sometimes vertical tillage machinery is equated with tandem disking when discussing soil disturbance. Tandem disks create complete lateral soil movement, compared with what this project showed to be very limited lateral soil movement with non-concave coulter, shallow 1-pass vertical tillage.
Some producers believe that 1-pass vertical tillage is a complementary practice that could be periodically used within no till cropping systems. At this time, for NRCS programs, fields with a planned no till cropping system will be redefined as full width mulch till when vertical tillage is conducted. This is important to know when considering conservation requirements associated with tolerable soil loss and producer chosen cost sharable stewardship practices.
Summary: Producers who are serious about using vertical tillage tools as a 1-pass + plant system should invite their agronomist and conservation professionals to do field observations with them to evaluate the depth and width of soil disturbance, along with remaining prior season residue. On-farm field observations can define farm specific use of the machine and identify any operational changes necessary for best crop production, as well as soil and water conservation.
● In cropping scenarios where desired rotations depend on very limited or no tillage to maintain tolerable soil loss, 1-pass shallow vertical tillage might be an option, on a site specific basis.
● Producers should consult with NRCS for tillage and cropping requirements that pertain to their individual program participation.
● It is not out of the question that certain aggressively designed vertical tillage implements will disturb more soil and surface residue than other.
● Conservative and shallow are key phrases when considering the use of these implements on cropland with high soil loss potential.
● As soon as producers make 2 or more passes with vertical tillage implements, similarities with tandem disking become apparent as soil disturbance increases and remaining residue decreases.
Written by Kevan, firstname.lastname@example.org