Mike Shuter was no-tilling before no-till was cool in his part of the world- north-central Indiana. Now he's strip-tilling, a variation of no-till that seems to work better on his wetter, tighter soils.
And he's doing it with his custom-built, 24-row no-till planter that he's now adapted to strip-till. Two years into the concept, he really likes the advantages he sees, and he's satisfied with how he's been able to convert his planter to work in the system.
"Another big part of being able to strip-till successfully is getting back on the clean-tilled strips that you make in the fall," Shuter says. "We also put fertility down in the fall. So you want the row planted into the slightly raised strip.
"We're doing it using GPS to guide us. It's working rally well. We're able to lay out passes in the fall, and then stay on them with good accuracy in the spring."
Shuter has long been an innovator in precision farming applications. He was applying fertilizer variable-rate with a tractor-pulled spreader and computerized maps he prepared himself years ago.
All of these aspects of farming will be up for discussion when the Indiana Farm Management Tour visits his farm next week, on June 29. He and sons Patrick and Brian, will host the first morning stop on the second day of the driving tour.
There's more to see than just strip-till crops and GPS equipment at this stop. Brian works off the farm with cattle development groups. Both boys are partners in a hog operation that they've started with young farmer loans through the Farm Service Agency. Brent Kerns, head of the loan division in Indiana for FSA, has been promoting this program, trying to make more young farmers aware of the opportunity. This tour should help spotlight the availability of the program.
The program begins at Shuter Sunset farms near Frankton at on June 29. Contact your local Extension office for details on how to find the farm, or find a map for the driving tour at: www.agecon.purdue.edu/extension/programs/farm_tour.asp.
Or contact Alan Miller, tour coordinator, at (765) 494-4203.