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Chisel-Shredder Boosts Yields
"I've used conservation tillage techniques for over 10 years and drilled soybeans for 7 years. However, I noticed some residue build-up which resulted in poor seedbeds and herbicide ineffectiveness," says Richard Althaus, Mendota Ill., who solved the problem with a combination chisel plow and stalk shredder. His machine was recently selected as one of the country's "Top 20 Conservation Tillage Ideas" in a contest sponsored by Ciba-Geigy as a promotion for Dual herbicides (Copies of the booklet which contains Althaus' idea, and 19 other good ideas, are still available. Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Karen Smith, Ciba-Geigy Corporation, P.O. Box 18300, Greensboro, N.C. 27419 ph 919 292-7100).
Althaus says that when he noticed the residue build-up problem, he decided to try some of the conservation tillage practices used by Herman Warsaw, Saybrook, Ill., who's well-known for regularly producing 300 bu. corn yields. "One key to his program is reduction of crop residue to as small a size as practical to facilitate usage by the next crop. He uses a stalkshredder to chop his heavy cornstalks prior to chiseling.
"After calculating the costs of shredding, I found that labor, fuel, and repair expenses would be excessive as an extra operation. Also, timeliness could be a factor for large acreages. I decided that if I could combine chiseling and shredding into a single operation, this might be more economical, despite the fact that slightly fewer acres per day could be covered.
"Nothing was available from equipment companies to implement my idea. With the help of a local welding shop, we fabricated an arch-type drawbar for the chisel plow, attaching it to the tractor 3-point. The arch allows the 15 ft. flail shredder to be connected to the tractor drawbar and pto drive.
"The combination worked very well on over 700 acres of cornstalks in the fall of 1982. The immediate result was a pleasing field appearance, with enough residue left for erosion control. In 1983, a dry year, my decision proved invaluable. We had our best soybeans ever, and the corn yields were exceptional, considering the growing season. We also observed greater herbicide effectiveness, better seed/soil contact, and in-reased soil tilth."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Richard Althous, 038 N. 4453 Rd., Mendota, Ill. 61342.

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1986 - Volume #10, Issue #2