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Slit Tillage System
By modifying his chisel plow, Herbert Myer, Lancaster, Penn., developed "slit tillage" a new twist in tillage that, he says, helps him save soil, water and money on his corn ground.
In modifying his Brillion chisel plow, Myer removed half the chisels and on the remaining five (spaced 30-in. apart) he replaced the chisel shovels with 2-in. wide, 10-in. long teeth. He also added heavy-duty coulters in front of each of the rows to cut through trash.
Myer, who's been using his slit-tillage system for the past 10 years on all of his land and for 20 years on some fields, pulls the rig through his corn fields in the fall, running the shanks between existing corn rows. The shanks cut a 12 to 15-in. deep "slit" in the soil, throwing loose dirt in ridges to the sides of each slit.
He points out that, unlike conventionally tilled ground, there's only a small amount of loose top soil so there's minimal erosion. "I've had some fields in corn for 20 years in a row without any erosion problems and I get better corn every year," says Myer. "Unlike no-till, the slits provide soil openings for rainfall to infiltrate. Even with a heavy rain there's hardly any runoff. I wouldn't be afraid to get a 10-in. downpour of rain right after I put the slits in."
"Another key benefit over the years has been the improved texture of my soil. The narrow chisel teeth bring very little soil up to the surface so subsoil isn't mixed with topsoil," Myer points out. His corn yields have averaged 160-185 bu. over the past five years. He notes that anyone trying "slit" tillage will see a difference just after one year and a "remarkable" difference after three years.
In the spring, after slit tilling in the fall, Myer goes over the field once with a disk, then follows through with his no-till corn planter. He tries to plant on the slightly raised ridges between the slits but notes that it isn't essential.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Herbert Myer, 1150 Village Rd., Lancaster. Penn. 171102 (ph 717 687-6377).


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1986 - Volume #10, Issue #5