Blog: 6 stripping shanks

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On the sixth day of Christmas, the Dairy Man gave to me: Six stripping shanks.

Modern Farm WifeModern Farm Wife

5: Fiiiiiiiive commodity baaaays
4: Four milking shells
3: Three shifts of milking
2: Two orange tractors
1: And a twinkly-light laden faux tree

Something about the word “shank” makes me feel cool and dangerous. Like a stocky gangbuster out in the prison yard. Or a villain in a James Bond movie. But though this apparatus looks like it could be a torture device from a Bond flick, it serves a more wholesome purpose on our dairy: to help prepare the soil for planting corn. After all, this is a family show.

You might remember that the Dairy Man changed our field prep practice this year from disking to strip-tilling. I promise it’s not as dirty as it sounds. The strip-tiller machine has six rows with six shanks to churn up the soil. DM hooks the machine to a tractor and drives up and down (and up and down and up and down) the fields, creating perfect rows for our little corn babies.

Modern Farm WifeModern Farm Wife

Modern Farm WifeModern Farm Wife

Strip-tilling works for us because a lot of our fields are sandy and hilly. It helps to eliminate soil erosion by only churning up strips of soil (as opposed to the entire field) and leaving organic material behind. This gives the corn plants an existing root structure to grow into and keeps more nutrients in the soil.

Modern Farm WifeModern Farm Wife

So there you have it. Strip-tilling is thrilling stuff. And my apologies to the wayward Googlers; but trust me, stripping is far more interesting on a dairy.

For more adventures from an urbanite learning to live the life of a modern farm wife, visit ModernFarmWife.com.

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