Saturday, November 9, 2013

Good Advertisement for No-Till

"A few days ago I combined the corn on a farm we just purchased. Actually we purchased the 70 acres adjoining the 10 acres we already owned and have no tilled for 10 years. No tilled it straight through this year and observed something interesting. 

As I worked back and forth across the old property line the yield monitor consistently showed a ten to twenty bushel increase when harvesting the area I have no tilled for a long period of time. The new ground has always been field cultivated and planted but has not really been abused. I did soil test these areas separately and the new ground actually showed a little better fertility levels. Has anyone else ever noticed this? What do you folks think?"

I think that is a pretty good advertisement for no-till.  Many farmers report similar result but you always have those guys who say they experience just the opposite.  Who do you believe?

No-Till increases soil air and water movement over time as the roots keep penetrating the old tillage layer.  The roots die, new organic matter is slowly created and the roots go deeper year by year.  That has been my experience and it's always good for me to read that someone else found the same thing.

Any tillage that does more than just make a nice little furrow or slit for the seed to emerge is overkill in my experience.  Continuous no-till and planting something every time I plant is a key to higher crop performance.

"In the first paragraph of the landmark 1943 book Plowman's Folly, Edward H. Faulkner said, "The truth is that no one has ever advanced a scientific reason for plowing." Nonetheless, 40 years after that publication cracked the foundations of agricultural science, most farmers still plow. Why?

Read more: 

Today's picture is one I've shown many times but it's one of the best no-till pictures I've taken.  I shot is years ago on Myron Verdier's no-till farm near Sidney, Ohio.  It demonstrates what many farmers have been able to accomplish with no-till.


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