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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anybody harrow in the spring prior to seeding in a no till system?

The reason I ask is because I see other farmers doing it in the fall
And I can see a benefit to their crops by better emergence

But... Their fields didn't seem to catch the snow as a non harrowed field.
Since soil moisture is everything, doesn't it make sense to harrow after
The winter? Also could you use a light harrow doing it since it's been bio degrading all winter, which would cost less than heavy harrowing as well?

Any thoughts? Other pros or cons?
 

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I Used a rotary harrow this spring. Worked good. Really seemed to blacken things up. Alittle per plant count were it was harrowed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I don't know if "blackening up the soil" is what I'm going for.

I'd be going more for adding more top trash for the moisture to be held in (few rains in July/aug)
As well as reducing the amount of shade the small plants had to give them a better head start, get their photosynthesis kicked into gear
 

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Ideally you don't want to harrow in spring because the straw is much more brittle which causes it to break into small pieces which will mix with your soil and impede your seed to soil contact. This year everyone in my area did it just open the soil and cause the top to dry a little bit. On a drier/normal spring I prefer not to harrow.
 

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we really like to run our flexicoil harrow/packer bar after seeding.

we run a dairy farm, so the majority of our land is forage and silage, so we cut close to the ground and smoothness is important, maybe more so than combining? We appreciate the improved seed to soil contact from the packer coils, maybe not as smooth of a finish as a roller, but still better than just the air drill.

We also appreciate that it can spread out some straw that may clump up from manure spreading, so we will occasionally use it just prior to seeding as well once those clumps have wintered and broken down some. Although we have often wondered if a dedicated heavy harrow would be a better fit for this task, we rent one with a valmar often enough... maybe next year :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ideally you don't want to harrow in spring because the straw is much more brittle which causes it to break into small pieces which will mix with your soil and impede your seed to soil contact. This year everyone in my area did it just open the soil and cause the top to dry a little bit. On a drier/normal spring I prefer not to harrow.
Heavy harrow or light harrow?
More even emerg?
 

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We heavy harrow every acre in spring. Maybe it's because its been so wet and cold. Sometimes we don't get all acres harrowed in fall due to lack of man power. Also if I want to spray a canola stubble for thistles I won't harrow it in fall. We're usually doing it two ways in spring. Harrow early if nothing growing, hopefully get something to grow then spray. Or spray then harrow next day, seed same or next day after that. A lot of factors I guess. Some stuff we harrowed this year seemed to break too much straw apart and caused problem with banders, but there's ways around that I guess. We don't own any other kind of harrow.
 

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I think the heavy harrow shines on a nice hot day behind the combine for straw management. We just harrow in front of drill in spring if we are forced to due to flood conditions. Vertical tillage would be better but how much junk can a guy buy?
 

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Quit harrowing after combine when traded up to STS. :)
Nothing but dust from 60 bu wheat.
Fall apply fertilizers with air seeder, then cultivate or harrow even twice in spring to get all straw/loose stubble as even as possible for air drill.
However me worst experience was heavy rain on spring harrowed stubble, way more run off. Remember heavy harrows PACK the soil.
Best emergence of canola is on twice cultivated last fall! :confused:
This is on WET black cold soil. We need it blacker.
 
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