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Strip Tillage Equipment: Everything Explained


Strip tillage equipment, everything you need to know. If you’re eager to understand what strip tillage is and what kind of equipment it involves, you’re in the right place. It is a sustainable farming technique that minimises soil disturbance and plays a vital role in shaping the future of farming. 

As strip-till is a conservation system, therefore opting for  Kelly Tillage is an outstanding choice for practising conservation / minimum tillage. We specialise in manufacturing high-quality strip shallow/minimum equipment.

However, our commitment goes beyond manufacturing; we prioritise sustainable production practices to ensure the well-being of future generations. So, let’s explore the world of strip tillage and discover its key components.

What is Strip Tillage? 

This farming technique involves the cultivation of a narrow, targeted strip of soil exclusively within the designated crop-growing area while leaving the soil between the rows untouched.

The typical procedure involves working a shallow strip of soil, typically measuring 6-8 inches in width and depth, which is used for planting crops.

Strip Tillage Equipment 

Many manufacturers offer different designs and features for strip-tillage equipment, but we are confident that Kelly Tillage farm equipment is the top choice for all Australian farmers. 

Model 1204 of Kelly  excels in strip tillage, and here’s why:

The shallow-working Disc Chains of the Model 1204 play a crucial role in making it suitable for strip tillage. These chains work close to the soil surface, gently smoothing the topsoil without disturbing the root zone of the crops. 

This is essential, as preserving the root zone minimises stress on the plants and helps maintain their overall health.

The three different working width configurations available for this model allow farmers to customise the tillage width according to their specific needs.

This flexibility is particularly beneficial for strip-tilling, as it enables precise control over the width of the tilled strips, ensuring that only the necessary soil is disturbed.

Additionally, this farm implement can effectively terminate weeds during tilling in strips. By rolling over the soil surface with its Disc Chains, it can uproot and bury weeds, reducing competition for nutrients and water with almond trees. This weed management approach is crucial for maintaining healthy crops and maximising yield.

Coulter Blades 

First and foremost, coulter blades act as cutting tools, slicing through the soil and any crop residue present in the field. This initial cutting action helps create a clear path for the tillage shank to follow, minimising soil compaction and ensuring efficient seedbed preparation.

One key feature of these blades is their ability to flexibly move over obstacles such as stones. This flexibility is essential, especially in fields with uneven terrain or where large stones are present. It prevents damage to the equipment and ensures uninterrupted operation.

Manufacturers often offer variations in coulter designs. Some include fluted coulters, which have grooves or flutes on their surface to enhance their cutting ability and residue management. 

Additionally, certain designs of this farming equipment incorporate depth-control features, allowing farmers to precisely set the depth at which they operate. This flexibility is important for adapting the strip tillage process to specific soil conditions and crop requirements.

Row Cleaners 

Row cleaners play a crucial role in tilling strips. Positioned behind the cutting coulter and a few inches ahead of the tillage shank, these row cleaners serve to clear residue from the front of the tillage shank and berm-building discs.

Their primary purpose is to create a clean and prepared strip for tiling. Manufacturers employ unique designs to effectively clear the tilled area, ensuring that it is free from debris. 

Berm Building Discs

Berm-building discs play a vital role in tilling strips by enhancing the overall effectiveness of the process. Positioned on each side and slightly behind the tillage shank, these discs offer two valuable functions. Firstly, they can be adjusted to create raised strips, aiding in moisture runoff and promoting soil drying during the spring planting season.

Alternatively, they can be configured to form slight depressions in the soil, serving as catchment areas for rain and snow, thus increasing soil moisture levels for the next crops.

This flexibility allows farmers to adapt their strip tillage approach to suit specific moisture management needs, ultimately improving crop performance and yield by optimising soil conditions.

Advantages of Strip Tillage 

Enhanced Weed Control 

This tillage technique minimises soil disturbance, focusing on specific rows where crops are planted. This targeted approach simplifies weed control within these concentrated rows, decreasing the reliance on herbicides and lowering overall weed pressure in the field.

Meet the K4, the Future of Sustainable Weed Control  

  • Superior performance in light to moderate soils. 
  • Disc overlap provides >100% soil coverage.
  • Built for weed control – from the ground up.
  • A smooth disc face reduces soil buildup. 
  • 2-4 cm/ 1-3” is its shallow working depth. 
  • It stands out due to its bolted assembly.
  • K4 has a replaceable cutting blade.
  • It has easy chain link removal. 

Read also: Why is Spiked Disc Chain Effective for Weed Control?

Reduced Soil Erosion 

This type of tillage minimises soil disturbance by affecting only a limited section of the field, leaving the majority of the soil undisturbed. 

This approach reduces the likelihood of soil erosion, as the untilled strips, with their residue and root structure, serve as a protective barrier that prevents soil from being washed away by rain or carried away by wind.

Increases Soil Moisture 

Leaving crop residues on the field’s surface between the tilled strips is like giving the soil a protective blanket. This “blanket” reduces the amount of water that evaporates from the soil, helping to keep the soil moist for a longer time. 

This is really helpful in places where water is scarce because it means the farmer doesn’t have to use as much water to keep their crops healthy. So, tilling in strips with crop residues is an ideal way to save water and make the most of limited water resources.

Fast Spring Planting 

This tillage approach is where only certain strips of soil are worked, leaving the rest undisturbed. These worked strips are darker in colour and can warm up faster in the spring because they absorb more sunlight. 

This warming effect helps the soil get ready for planting earlier, allowing farmers to start growing crops sooner.

It also means the growing season can last longer, leading to potentially bigger crop harvests. So, it helps farmers by getting the soil ready quicker and giving crops more time to grow, which can result in better yields.

Carbon Sequestration 

This type of tillage has a positive impact on carbon sequestration as it minimises the disturbance of organic matter in the soil, thereby reducing the rate of organic matter decomposition and the subsequent release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. 

This practice aids in the retention of carbon within the soil, making strip tillage an effective strategy for mitigating climate change through enhanced carbon sequestration.

Energy and Cost Savings 

As this is a conservation tilling technique, therefore, it requires less tractor horsepower and fuel in comparison to conventional tillage. This can lead to cost reductions for farmers and a decrease in the greenhouse gas emissions linked to farm machinery.

Summing Up 

In conclusion, strip tillage equipment offers numerous advantages, making it a promising farm practice. Its ability to conserve soil, reduce erosion, and enhance seedbed preparation while minimising fuel and labour costs highlights its value in modern farming.

Adopting it can lead to sustainable farming practices, benefiting both farmers and the environment.