Seed bed preparation plays such an important role in determining your crops’ yields that it warrants your full attention. This spring, it likely deserves a healthy dose of flexibility, too.
Regardless of the crop, soil preparation generally follows the same agronomic guidelines: Aim for a firm seed bed with minimal moisture loss while maintaining protection from erosion. The goal is a seed bed that allows planting and seeding equipment to place seed uniformly with good seed-to-soil contact. This also means rows free from large clods and heavy crop residue that can create inconsistent soil warming or inhibit emergence.
Every spring presents unique challenges — if not barriers — to achieving the optimum seed bed. This year, you might be managing higher levels of crop residue because of last year’s bumper crop and conditions that limited fall tillage. Or you might be waiting out wet, cool soils. Parts of the western Corn Belt would welcome moisture. You might be asking how you can prepare a proper seed bed when you’re facing several of these situations across your farm.
In most scenarios, making fewer trips across the field is a good starting point in formulating your spring seed bed prep strategy. Limiting tillage conserves valuable moisture. Remember: Soils will more quickly dry to the depth of tillage. If tillage is necessary, keep it as shallow as possible. On the opposite end of the spectrum, when wet, cool fields finally dry out and warm up, you’ll want to maximize the productivity of each field pass to allow timely planting. And although fuel prices are down, so are grain prices. Reducing expenses makes good business sense.
The Case IH lineup of tillage equipment can help you meet your objectives this spring. If you need more-aggressive options that accomplish primary tillage and break through heavy crop residue, consider our True-Tandem™ disk harrows. These implements are ideal for primary tillage, seed bed preparation and herbicide incorporation. Plus, you can choose from harrow options or add a seed bed conditioner to achieve the desired field finish.
If you’re looking for that perfect, final tillage pass to help create the best possible seed bed for your crops, the Case IH Tiger-Mate® 200 field cultivator fills the bill. Tiger-Mate field cultivators create a firm, level seed bed that provides an optimum growing environment. Consider these features:
- Single- and double-fold options in working widths between 18.5 feet and 60.5 feet
- Customizable, based on your soil environment and farming practices, with our Advanced Leveling System or Advanced Conditioning System harrows
- A combination of the split-the-middle sweep pattern and 6-inch shank spacing thoroughly mixes crop residue with the soil
- High-performance construction:
- Positive, mechanical depth control for uniform depth
- Walking tandems on the mainframe and each wing section
- Stabilizing wheels on each wing section
Volatile spring weather can complicate the best laid plans. But each passing day gives you a better idea what to expect this planting season. To create the perfect seed bed, consider what you need to accomplish between now and when you pull your planter into that first field. Review the tillage lineup from Case IH, then visit your local Case IH dealer to find the best option for your operation.
Disclaimer: Case IH cannot provide advice for your specific farming operation. Consult your agronomist or other farming professional for specific tillage advice.