“It takes about 5 years to get soil structure changed and to get your soil organic matter built to the point that you don't need tillage anymore … With time, you're adding about 2 inches of available water over a growing period to that plant compared to when you had conventional tillage.”
Lloyd Murdock, professor emeritus at the University of Kentucky, is one of the pioneers of no-till research. He has been working with no-tillers since 1970, studying soil compaction, fertility and productivity over the decades. His intensive wheat program more than doubled Kentucky’s statewide average wheat yields from 40 bushels 10 years ago to more than 80 bushels today. Although he’s now semi-retired, Murdock’s research continues as he attempts to find ways to break up the fragipan, the hard layer below the soil surface.
In this episode of the No-Till Farmer Influencers & Innovators podcast, Frank Lessiter talks with Murdock about his early lessons from no-till, how soil changes over the decades after tillage stops, an experiment that took years to take off, and more.
Check out our podcast archive featuring dozens of other conversations with no-till influencers and innovators from around the world. This invaluable knowledge is available for free on our website or wherever you get your podcasts.
P.S. There’s lots more great no-till stories and history in Frank Lessiter’s new book, From Maverick to Mainstream: A History of No-Till Farming. Check it out here.
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