I had the pleasure of attending the Ohio No-Till Field Day on Sept. 8. Here’s a few notable comments from the event held at Keith Kemp’s farm in W. Manchester, Ohio, that drew 100 folks.
1. Successfully no-tilling corn relies on successful stand establishment, says Purdue University agronomist Bob Nielsen. Successful stand establishment requires vigorous, uniform germination and seedling emergence. “The sins of planting will haunt you all season,” Nielsen says, quoting former Purdue University agronomy superintendent Ozzie Luetkenmeier.
2. “If you could pick and choose when you plant corn, you’d wait ’til soil temperatures are 55 degrees or more,” Nielsen says.
3. With cover crops, always make sure you are using the right inoculum, says David Brandt, Ohio no-tiller and cover crop user. Turnips do not need to be
inoculated. Legumes do.
4. “If you really want to get corn to come up fast, wait ’til mid-June and it will come up in 3 or 4 days,” Purdue University agronomist Bob Nielsen
5. “Rain will compact the heck out of the soil,” says Matt Denton, Ohio Department of Natural Resources. He adds: “I wouldn’t deep till anything. I’m not totally against tillage. I am a proponent of cover crops.”
6. “More diversity in the soil helps the soil weather adversity,” says George Derrington, USDA NRCS for Ohio.
7. Buckwheat is very good for breaking up soil compaction, says Jim Hoorman, Ohio State University Extension educator. Cereal rye helps break up horizontal compaction, while tillage radishes help with vertical compaction.
8. Soybeans drilled in 7.5-inch rows are very poorly rooted, Hoorman says. Improve the soil structure, then 10- and 15-inch rows will work for no-till soybeans.
9. There’s a difference between radishes for cover crops, Hoorman, Ohio says. Different seed size affects seeding with a plate. Some will germinate before others.
10. I am impressed with the number of nightcrawler burrows I found, said Nielsen, while standing in a soil pit in Keith Kemp’s no-tilled corn field.
11. “What should you look for in a root pit?” a farmer asked Nielsen. “Are you getting compacted root development?” Nielsen responded.
12. “For a lot of growers, the first, best thing they could do for their soils is to improve drainage,” Nielsen says. “It’s a substantial investment.”
13. There’s much talk about drought tolerance in the seed business. “But if we had soggy soil tolerance in the eastern Corn Belt, that would help us out,” Nielsen says.
14. “Manure is a tremendous asset and also a risk,” says Bruce Clevenger, Ohio State University Extension educator for Defiance County. Just the sight
of manure can anger some in the public. “People smell with their eyes,” he says. “We’d rather do this manure management voluntary in agriculture or it will
be regulated on us.”
15. “Include wheat into your crop rotation so you have some place to apply the manure in the summer,” says Bob Featheringill, an Attica, Ohio, no-tiller.