Been thinking a lot about the process in general going into this season. We've been notilling some stuff for quite awhile now. Last year just ran out of time waiting to strip so we just no tilled nearly everything. Turned out fine, no big surprise to us. Long story short I guess I'd like to hear what others think on this. When I read about what's "acceptable" in no till and this and that it becomes mute to me. Here's my thoughts, respond if you can.
1. There isn't actually "no-till", once the soil is disturbed at any level it's disturbed. Fert openers, Row cleaner, opener, closers. I'll call this "planter till" or "row tillage". When I see a spike closing wheel chewing up a sidewall to close the trench...that's tillage. Acceptable ? Yes, but still disruption. I realize it has to get in the ground somehow.
2. Full width- personally I don't have a need for full width tillage. Why do full width as opposed to half or 1/3 width?
3.If no soil disturbance is mandatory for all the proper bacteria and microorganisms etc., we must at least admit that we are placing our seed (in a no till system )in the only area of the field where disruption, tillage, lacerations occurred..the row unit. That is undeniable to me.
It makes the most sense to me, whether possible or not, to always stay on the same row continuously. Different fertility methods will affect this perhaps. So if a disc opener and a tube go slicing down the field followed by a row cleaner, an opener slicing in a couple inches over from the fertilizer disc, a firmer dragging along in the furrow, a disc or notched closing wheel slicing along the seed trench (as designed to do) to close it up and in a lot of cases a chain to drag soil around...isn't this tilling? Isn't that destruction of soil? Or just an amount allowed by the self appointed no till overlords?
I like the practice myself, I'm just not sure it actually exists. Strip till is pretty nice, nicer when you don't have to do it. I just feel like if you never disturb the soil between the rows and keep planting in the old row where all the roots are growing and decaying and the fertilizer is placed, does it matter if you are strip tilling or no tilling? I like the simplicity of no till and the erosion control. I also liked broadcasting but now it weighs on my mind often. I'm never confident that the rain I get will not be a gully washer anymore. Sorry for the length but I don't know everything.