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Bedded crops, furrow irrigation and slugs — especially slugs — are all valid reasons for me to till, till, till. But I don’t.
I’ve seen what unnecessary tillage can do to our sandy-loam soils and what those same soils can achieve when managed in a way that promotes their function. Now I disturb the soil where I must, maintain no-till where I can and use cover crops to secure and quickly rehabilitate disturbed soils.
My father, Mike, and I raise corn, soybeans, cotton and peanuts in the Mississippi Delta. Crops are grown on 60-inch beds to accommodate furrow irrigation and, in the case of cotton, to move excess water away from the growing plants. Traditionally, this required multiple trips with heavy, expensive equipment to manage fields.
Now I’m able to invest the money I no longer use on operating that equipment to purchase equipment that truly benefits my cropping system, like our new John Deere DR16 high-speed planter with the ExactEmerge system.
Many who have shifted their views on tillage have had a resolve-galvanizing moment. For my family it came in 1993. High spring winds whipped up loose, tilled sandy soil…