No-Till Experts Share Their Best Ideas

NNTC speakers say cover crops, precision ag technology can help growers squeeze more profit out of every acre

In Janurary I attended the 19th annual National No-Tillage Conference (NNTC) in Cincinnati with more than 800 new and veteran no-till professionals.

The tips and information from the speakers, and the networking opportunities, allowed fellow no-tillers to review their management practices and decide if the new ideas and perspectives they were hearing could be adopted on their farms.

While I led a classroom session on some of the technologies available to no-tillers today, I spent the rest of the conference trying to identify some practices that might work for my farm.

I was intrigued the most by sessions on cover crops and precision technology. I learned things in both of these sessions that I could incorporate into my farm and research in an effort to improve soil organic matter, nutrient-use efficiency and farm profitability.

Building Healthy Soils

 Jim Hoorman from Ohio State University, and Ray Weil from the University of Maryland, provided lots of valuable information on improving soil quality by planting cover crops.

Additionally, Randall Reeder, Alan Sundermeier and Rafiq Islam, all from Ohio State University, shared how continuous no-till can improve soil quality.

The combination of healthy soils and cover crops build soil organic matter and residue.

Working together, they can hold an additional $75 to $100 per acre of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium that would normally be lost, the educators said.

They also described how incorporating cover crops can improve your soil’s water-holding capacity.

With increased moisture levels and nutrients available later in the growing season, crops…

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Leverich_jim

Jim Leverich

Jim Leverich no-tills near Sparta, Wis., and serves as an onfarm research coordinator for the University of Wisconsin.

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