No-tilling and organic practices were once thought to be incompatible. But improvements in technology and the re-emergence of cover crops means some growers, like Rick Clark, are taking advantage of price premiums available on the rapidly growing organic market.
Yield doesn’t drive Clark’s farm management. Instead, the fifth generation no-tiller intensely focuses on building soil health as the driver of his family’s 7,000-acre operation near Williamsport, Ind. By focusing soil health, Clark says, higher yields will come later.
And not only are yields more stable and projected to continue climbing, he’s seen significant savings on their inputs — all while growing 100% non-GMO crops for a local dairy and moving towards organic production.
The combination of diverse species and rotations, along with planting green and avoiding chemicals, has resulted in some significant changes for the Clarks’ farm. And thanks to their commitment to collecting data they can see how the changes improved their bottom line.
“I’m in a position of strength,” Clark says. “I can now market my grain, barring any weather issues, if I feel like the market is at a point where I can pretty comfortably determine what my corn yield is going to be because of this, and I can forward sell grain.”
Clark share how he’s gradually converting his operation to organic methods for no-tilling corn, soybeans, alfalfa and field peas. He’ll also review how he’s overcoming the inherent learning curves with organic no-till systems and how he plans to convert most of his operation to organic by 2022.
From 2011-2018, Rick Clark saw fuel, synthetic nitrogen and MAP use decrease by 49.5%, 27.3% and 91.8%, respectively. He went from spending $40 an acre on chemicals to $18, a reduction of 55%.
Understanding that the need for no-till knowledge is year-round and seeing the opportunity to bridge the unique learning experiences of the National No-Tillage Conference, No-Till Farmer is proud to launch a brand new 2-day educational event.
The National No-Tillage Conference Summer Intensive — free to attend — will be held virtually June 23-24 and feature timely, topical information from no-till experts to improve your no-till know-how. Visit www.No-TillFarmer.com/NNTC-2021summer for speaker updates, session topics and registration information for this free virtual event.