Rob Zemenchik, sales and marketing manager for Case IH tillage products, says that Case IH recognized several years ago that the greater volumes and more durable chemistry of crop residues were creating operation problems for crop producers.

 “After evaluating 1,600 on-farm production-scale field plots over a five-year period, we introduced the Ecolo-Tiger 870 and True-Tandem 330 Turbo to address these challenges, and they have proven to be very successful,” Zemenchik says.

Zemenchik claims the Ecolo-Tiger 870, a disk ripper, can process high crop residue volumes into a target piece size of 18 in. or smaller, while leaving a target clod size of less than 6 in. when equipped with a patented double-edge reel. Subsequently, the True-Tandem 330 Turbo vertical tillage tool is designed to level the seedbed in a high-speed, low-draft operation to allow for precise planter-row-unit performance.

AGCO reports the same demand for its vertical tillage system, the Sunflower 6630. “Sales of this implement have exploded since it was introduced in 2010, and the 6630 is now our most popular tillage tool,” says Tom Draper, manager of marketing for Sunflower seeding and tillage.

“One of the things we learned about vertical tillage tools is that blades need to be sharp for best performance,” Draper continues. “So the geometry of the blade shape and the metallurgy of the steel used help us keep the cutting edge sharp while getting through tough, modern-genetics crop residue.”

Draper says disk sales also are strong. “The Sunflower 1435 disks are still the most numerous-selling series in the Sunflower product line,” he says.

Canada-based Versatile says its tandem disk business has grown in the last six to eight years. “When you ask a small grains farmer, why are you spending $100,000 on a tandem disk, they will tell you it is for residue management,” says Adam Reid, director of marketing for Versatile. “Guys are running the disks quite shallow to avoid compaction and are using them to manage residue, and it’s working for them.”