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Water used to make itself nice and comfortable in many of our fields. Too comfortable. Rain and snowmelt would result in ponding that would delay field work or kill crops.
Cool, wet springs would turn fields into unplantable muddy messes. Tillage begat more tillage, resulting in powdery soils that were vulnerable to crusting, especially in the heavy clay soils closer to our home farm.
My son, Matt, and I farm right up to the edge of Lake Ontario. Back when I was tilling, the sandy loam ground on some of our farms would work up nicely, but the closer we got to the heavy clay soils near home, the greater the battle to get crops planted. We tried many promising remedies, including an array of tillage strategies, but couldn’t get the yields we thought we should.
After listening to Ray Rawson at various events we moved to zone till, then no-till, and now we’re interseeding cover crops, double cropping and adding new crops to our rotations.
NAME: Jeff Toussaint
FARM: Toussaint Farms
LOCATION: Medina, N.Y.
YEARS NO-TILLING: 26
ACRES: 1,300 acres
CROPS: Corn, soybeans, wheat, snap beans, triticale
Soil performance has improved by leaps and bounds as have yields in many cases. We’re using technology to target areas in our fields in need of…