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CropTalk: Managing Residue, PFR-Style

November 2022

Published on Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Many things over the course of history in PFR have come and gone with interest, but if there’s one thing that keeps coming up in the fall, it’s residue management. It’s never an easy one-size-fits-all answer, no pun intended! When we think about the ways we can manage it, there are several different strategies that we can incorporate beginning right at harvest.

From chopping corn heads to stalk devastators, you can begin the residue breakdown process right from the harvest pass with the combine. While each of these methods vary in the size of the residue and what is accomplished, the overall goal is the same, to begin the decomposition of residue at a more rapid rate. These systems can be essential in notill environments where we are dependent on soil biological activity to break down the residue. That said, farmers can jump-start the process ahead of the fall tillage tool in tillage environments as well. Capello® Quasar Chopping Heads and Yetter Stalk Devastators™ are PFR Proven™ products that have shown merit when it comes to this process. They are both economical in terms of acreage quantities depending on the size of the head they are installed on. In corn with a 12-row head, both of these systems only require approximately 300 acres to pay off!

There are other methods to achieve fall residue breakdown that involve a broadcast application with a sprayer. Some of these products have proven profitable over the years while others have gone by the wayside. Two products that have gained PFR Proven status and Res Plus and Robust®. Each of these products contain nutrients that help engage soil microbial activity and Res Plus even has a residue degradation booster in it. Regardless, these two products have shown advantages for the utilization of a spray pass in the fall, resulting in gains ranging from $12 to $31/A.

If fall is not your fancy and you need ways of navigating through the thick residue mat that still exists in the spring, row cleaners are the best option for clearing the seed trench and ensuring optimum seed-to-soil contact. When it comes to row cleaners, there are many options, so make sure to choose the one for your respective planter that accomplishes the goal you are looking to achieve. Certain row cleaners are designed for specific environments, and it’s best to consult the manufacturer or your trusted advisor to discuss your farming practices to ensure success. The use of row cleaners is a PFR Proven practice, with average yield gains of 4.2 Bu./A. on corn and 1 Bu./A. on soybeans.

Regardless of how you go about managing residue, it’s important to set the stage for optimum success so you can maximize ROI. Reach out to your local Beck’s representative for more information!


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Jason Gahimer

Jason Gahimer

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