Residue Management and Tillage

Soybeans emerging through no-till corn residue on the KBS LTER site; Photo Credit: G.P. Robertson, Michigan State University

Soybeans emerging through no-till corn residue on the KBS LTER site; Photo Credit: G.P. Robertson, Michigan State University

Conservation tillage is a great way to decrease erosion, protect water quality, improve tilth, reduce compaction, conserve soil moisture and add organic matter, all while saving time, energy and labor. Conservation tillage includes any tillage or planting system that maintains at least 30% crop residue on the soil surface after planting; this includes: mulch-till, strip-till and of course no-till. With all of these benefits conservation tillage is a great tool if managed properly.

 

There are potential problems from residue:

  • Reduced emergence in the following crop
  • Residue could float off the field
  • May have cool, wet soils at planting

These problems can be minimized by increasing microbial activity. Soil microbes are always working in the soil degrading residue into useable organic matter. Often times the natural enzymes are not active enough to reduce residue in a timely manner. ROBUST is a liquid product designed to increase activity of the soil microbes already in your soil. This allows the benefits of conservation tillage while minimizing the risks. ROBUST will increase the speed of the nutrient cycle, improve soil health and increase the rate of residue degradation.

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