Date of this Version
Cultivating residue-covered fields and ridge-till considerations are among the topics covered here.
In any conventional, conservation or no-tillage planting system, crop cultivation can be an excellent method of weed control. Cultivators used in residue-covered fields must allow residue to flow through the implement without clogging.
Extra penetration force may be required to cultivate no-till fields as compared to tilled fields. While many high-clearance cultivators are designed to handle conservation tillage conditions, some older cultivators can be modified to work in residue-covered fields when residue flow and soil penetration are maintained.
Combining mechanical and chemical weed control is economical and effective because weed control does not totally rely on one method. For example, apply a band of herbicide, either pre- or postemergence, and rely on cultivation to control weeds in the row middles. Or, use a less-expensive, lower-performing herbicide, or use lower-than-label rates, then supplement the weed control with cultivation as needed.
Crop cultivation should be used primarily to control weeds, but can be used to rebuild ridges or aerate poorly drained or crusted soils. Cultivation for the sake of stirring the soil usually dries the soil and may result in lower yields during drier cropping conditions.