I've tried a brush hog and a couple of flail choppers (a Gehl and a NH 38). None of those work worth a crap just so you know, and are only 3 rows wide at the absolute luckiest / best. Don't go there. And actual flail style stalk chopper, I'd like to know how good they work too! Chopping rolls on the header would seem to be the dream.
We fall strip till between 30 inch corn rows on some acres, and then stale seedbed soys in the spring On some we use Pottinger disc once in the fall and once in the spring and airseed 7.5 inch rows. Chopping corn heads(we had one) drive hard and use lots more fuel. Many Horsch Anderson Joker Disc sold in the state of MI this spring to manage corn stalks, look good. Check video out at Peters Bros Emmett MI. Hey tbone 95 where you at?
This spring we had big issues with 200bu corn residue and cold michigan temps. The earlier planted stuff was one-passed in the fall with a deere 2623vt. Should hit it again. You can still see where dad took it around the field edges in the spring to beat the weeds back. Bean came up much better.
I used to think the VT was a waste of time for beans. Now I want to do more.
Vertical till in the fall with the gates on a slight angle once or twice depending on amount of trash. A harrow or light tillage in the spring and then plant. This was probably or best year for corn trash management.
I should mention we run a chopping corn head. It broke down for a couple days and the dealer brought us out a non chopping and you could see right to the row this spring. Much better with the chopping corn head.
This is another aspect of farming I don't understand. People have been raising corn for hundreds of years and engineers still haven't designed a cheap piece of mulching equipment that will destroy corn stocks? Most farmers know what we need but the engineers are either super slow or super crooked and they want us to keep buying their empty promise. Simply design a mower that pulverizes the stalks about 3" above the ground with a vacuum on front that sucks the debris into the blade system
We use chopping corn heads now but prior to that we used a M-C Flail Shredder and it worked good at chewing up the stalks , But you had to be carefull not to create too much of a matt of material as it did not dry very well in spring .
neighbor bought a Gerringhoff head last year ( not sure of model , but supposedly the latest and greatest) and he curses it every time I have seen him this spring , due to the material matting and the ground not drying out under it . But he does say that it did a great job chewing up the stalks.
One thing I have to ask forever27, how many acres are you covering? You guys touting VT, sure absolutely, but $$$ching!$$$ If you have the acres to justify it, sure go for it.
No doubt chopping head uses more fuel. . .but more fuel than another pass over the field with. . .whatever? And the job is done as you go. When labor is short and the snow's coming, it's nice to be done. Last fall, there wasn't much window for tillage after corn harvest, since the spring was wet and cold, corn got in late, June was wet and cool, corn didn't grow good early, everything was late maturing in the fall, and thankfully it was a great fall. Then the cold and snows came early, and I truly finished corn just in time for winter.
20 years ago (err more than that...maybe) I put away a worn out flail chopper. I was never doing that again. Dad cursed me for a few years. About 6 years ago I started looking at chopping corn heads. The fall before last I bought an old John Deere 27 flail chopper, figuring I was going to buy a chopping head in a couple years and the resale potential was there with the deere...well I put some money into the old girl in flails and bearings and belts and a little welding and man let me tell you she does a sweet job. As for the chopping head, well I am still wanting one, but right now the price of corn, and well I can save some labor by getting the chopping head, but I really can't see saving much fuel as I am cutting 6 rows with an old 200 allis tractor and have no trouble getting 150 acres out of a tank of fuel. I cut about 600 acres a year with it.