Why Vertical Tillage?

Arable farmers must ensure their soils are well structured if they are to gain optimum yields in all seasons.

The Great Plains ‘Vertical Tillage’ concept provides a system-based approach that focuses on methods of avoiding the creation of compacted layers in the soil, which can inhibit all the natural processes that help feed the crop.

This includes the natural capillary action that enables water to percolate and drain through the soil, the development of a healthy root system that enables plants to efficiently access both nutrients and moisture, and the movement of beneficial organisms like earthworms.

Horizontal tillage techniques can create compacted layers which restrict root development and humidity movement through the soil, reducing yield potential. Roots in a top, lower-density layer can be diverted sideways when a higher-density layer is encountered. Compacted layers can also create ponding on the soil and restrict capillary action.

The Great Plains ‘Vertical Tillage’ concept aims to create the vertical cracks and fissures that permit good water movement through the soil profile, so water-logging and ponding is avoided but the crop can seek out moisture when it needs it. In addition, good ‘Vertical Tillage’ practice leaves a uniform, unrestricted soil profile in which the plant can develop a healthy, deep root system that will enable it to fully access the soil’s reserves of nutrients, air and moisture.

As well as sub-soiling and maintaining the optimum soil density, ‘Vertical Tillage’ also addresses the importance of managing residue effectively, consolidating the ground and creating the perfect seedbed.

Find out how the Great Plains ‘Vertical Tillage’ approach can help you to increase your maize or oilseed rape yields by downloading the leaflets below.