The latest bi-annual tillage transect results, compiled by the Indiana State Department of Agriculture and the Natural Resources Conservation Service, show that 23% of the Indiana's corn crop and 59% of soybean acreage were no-tilled.
The complete report is available on the ISDA web site at http://www.in.gov/isda/2354.htm.
Figures in the report show that no-till corn acres grew by 1% in the state between 2009 (1,244,400) and 2011 (1,296,300), while no-till soybean acres fell by 4% between 2009 (3,375,300 acres) and 2011 (3,225,400 acres).
"We've had a string of very wet springs with historic storm intensities. These weather events have caused tremendous erosion. This can bring about additional tillage as farmers try to dry and repair their fields and replant," says Barry Fisher, state conservation agronomist for USDA's NRCS.
"We're encouraged to see no-till farming maintain a significant portion of our cropland acres under these circumstances. Additionally, NRCS and the Indiana Conservation Partnership are actively promoting a total Conservation Cropping Systems approach to farming which focuses on soil health and function.
"We believe the no-till acres represented in the 2011 transect data are at a much higher and sustainable quality because farmers are using multiple practices implemented as a system on their fields."
"Despite the unique field conditions affecting the 2011 crop, many Indiana producers were still committed to the economic and resource benefits of conservation cropping systems, of which no-till is key," says State Resource Conservationist for Indiana, Shannon Zezula.
Due to Indiana producer's conservation tillage efforts, over 31 million tons of soil were saved from eroding into Indiana water bodies, she adds. In addition, over 14 million gallons of diesel fuel were conserved due to reduced trips across fields.
The Cropland Tillage Transects began in 1990 as a joint effort of the Indiana Conservation Partnership members. When the transect inventories first began, they were taken every year. The results of the study identify the types of tillage systems Indiana farmers are using, and long-term trends of conservation-tillage adoption.
Currently, the surveys are conducted every other year by teams made up of staff from local Soil and Water Conservation Districts, USDA's Natural Resource Conservation Service, Purdue University's Cooperative Extension Service, Indiana State Department Agriculture and additional agencies and partners.