Great Plains defines vertical tillage as working the soil vertically to avoid the addition of horizontal layers or density changes. It is important to avoid the creation of density changes because they create a barrier for the plant, which impedes root growth and water infiltration. The plants’ roots dictate the overall health of the plant, as they deliver nutrients and water throughout, contributing to a higher yield. Without a strong set of roots, the plant becomes more susceptible to threats like wind and drought. Maintaining uniform density in the soil profiles and preventing compaction layers is what vertical tillage is all about. By using a vertical finish tool, it will help establish an ideal seedbed to allow precision seed placement by the planter.
For spring vertical tillage, the tillage tool should manage residue, maintain density, and create the ideal seedbed for planting. When managing residue, the tool should chop plant matter into pieces that can be easily moved with a row cleaner and can flow through a planter. To maintain soil density, the tool should enter the soil perpendicular to the ground and cleanly cut through the residue. To avoid creating ridges, the tool should never move soil sideways.
As planting season nears, creating the ideal seedbed is vital to a successful crop. Vertical tillage equipment, such as those with a rolling spike harrow and reel combination, can help prepare an ideal seedbed by working the ground vertically to create a smooth, level surface, as well as at seeding depth. The smooth and level consistency of the soil will help your planter navigate the field for precision seed placement and it will help ensure even emergence of your crops.