Published Oct 31, 2011

Fall field work decisions

By Sarah Carlson

I received this question from a PFI farmer last week. I know many farmers decide to till or no to till for a variety of reasons. If you have a comment about when you decide to till or not till please share it. Thanks!



I have been wondering about fall tillage. We went to a PFI weed workshop a couple of years back and the presenters were saying to not do any fall tillage so that all the biomass, weed seeds, and stalks were left on top of the ground for rodents and other animals to eat. This will help keep weed seed problems down in future years. But I also want to plant a winter cover crop of rye but from cultivation this past summer I have the rows ridged quite high. What do you or other farmers recommend in regards to fall tillage. Just go in with a drill and seed the rye with the rows or something else? My concern is poor rye germination due to such uneven ground, and also I am worried about breaking the drill because of the high ridges.

I disc the ground lightly to even the ground out to try and make a better seed bed for the cover crop of rye. I also try to keep as much of the residue on top of the soil as possible.

Do you think I should disc in the fall before seeding the rye or just go with the rows and drill in the undisturbed ridged ground?

If anyone has any comments please post them.