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Trans-Till Strip Till Toolbar
A Michigan farmer who raises 2,000 acres of crops, says that after 10 years of trying no-till and ridge-till, he and other family members finally came up with a minimum tillage system that works for them.
"We farm glacial soils that include silt, clay and river bottom gumbos. We've had problems with no-till attachments on planters because no one system works best in all soils. If you move from one soil to another without changing settings on your no-till attachments, it throws your planter off and yields suffer," says Dave Roggenbuck, who's started a company called Row-Tech, Inc., to manufacture the "Trans-Till" system he developed with his father Vincent, brother Paul, and brother-in-law Jeff.
"After over 100 years, conventional row crop planters have been developed to the point where they adapt easily to different soil types and work well under nearly all conditions. What seems to be happening is that we're throwing away all those years of research and development by mounting all kinds, of attachments on planters that hurt performance, unless you're lucky enough to have perfect conditions," says Roggenbuck.
He says Row-Tech's new Trans-Till system makes use of the best attributes of both conventional and no-till planting.
It consists of a heavy-duty 7 by 7-in. toolbar fitted with a fluted coulter up front followed by a specially-designed subsoiler knife with a pair of wavy coulters on either side.
The front coulter cuts residue. The sub-soil shank fractures soil in the row, and lifts it so residue falls off to either side. The wavy coulters on either side of the shank till up the row zone. Even though none of the coulters is angled off to the side,Roggenbuck says residue is thrown out of the row zone, leaving a cleanly tilled, 10-in. strip.
"You can plant into the strips with an unmodifed conventional planter. It's much easier to adjust a tillage toolbar to changing field conditions than to try to adjust no-till attachments mounted on a planter. We use a team planting approach. One tractor runs through the field with the Trans-Till toolbar, and the planter follows soon after, pulled by another tractor. It lets you concentrate on one job at a time, rather than worrying about tilling up soil at the same time you're trying to get seed into the ground," says Roggenbuck.
Opening up the soil before planting corn prevents many common no-till problems like slow growth, surface compaction, side wall compaction; and wet planting conditions. Getting extra attachments off the planter also prevents planter wear and tear, notes Roggenbuck.
"This system also eliminates drawbacks of conventional tillage like large machinery investments, soil erosion, multiple trips through the field, and so on," says Roggenbuck.
Depth of the Trans-Till can be set at 4, 6.5, or 9 in. and a stainless steel fertilizer tube on the back of the subsoil knives lets you inject liquid fertilizer under the seed in the row.
"We prefer to use the Trans-Till in the spring in corn stalks and soy stubble but we use it in the fall in wheat ground to reduce disease problems," says Roggenbuck.
Contact FARM SHOW Followup, David Roggenbuck, Row-Tech, Inc., 645 N. Germania Rd., Snover, Mich. 48472 (ph 810 672-9383 or 517 635-2954).

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1994 - Volume #18, Issue #4