True vertical tillage is a system of guiding principles that maximizes yields by increasing water infiltration, root development, and nutrient take-up. The object of a true vertical tillage system is to eliminate compaction layers and prevent the addition of density layers (shear surfaces) to the soil by only working the soil vertically in the direction of travel.
The initial goal of vertical tillage is to reset the soil below the surface, as deep as is practical, (typically between 10" and 15" deep) to create uniform soil density.
Once the soil profile is reset from 10" to 15", the next goal should be to maintain uniform density as deep as is practical with vertical finish tools. Typically, these run from 2" to 3" deep at a fast ground speed. Vertical finish tools bury a minimal amount of residue, yet level out the seedbed to ensure accurate seed placement and uniform emergence. With minimal disturbance to surface residue, vertical tillage reduces erosion—a win-win for both producers and the environment.