What I've Learned From No-Tilling: It Isn’t Just Not Tilling: It’s The System

No-till innovator turned no-till advocate, researcher and farmer Don Lobb helped launch a conservation revolution north of the U.S. border and beyond.

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NAME: Don Lobb

LOCATION: Caledon, Ontario



No-till is a whole lot more than planter modification.

That’s the first thing I learned when I gave the practice a try on my Ontario farm 8 miles inland from Lake Huron. To be successful at no-till, you must look at it in terms of your entire farming system.

When I decided to assess no-till on my farm in 1981, I approached it as a strategic process. I had been an innovator/early adopter before, and I knew the pitfalls of being on the leading edge.

In 1962, I had the first fully operational liquid hog manure setup in Canada. While the barn was touted as state-of-the-art, I experienced high losses and was operating in a technical vacuum. Few people had any idea my problems existed, much less how to solve them. The experts quickly disappeared and I was on my own.

I was alone struggling with the project, I was alone when I faced the banker, and I was alone in figuring out how to move past the mess. I was determined not to repeat this scenario with no-till.

Instead, I approached it scientifically. I decided that I would:

 Study the agronomy of no-till on my farm before comparing it to a tilled system and making my final decision to adopt the practice.

 Ensure that the people I engaged for technical support would be well informed.

 Focus on positive people

Little did I know…

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Martha Mintz

Contributing Editor

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