There's no misunderstanding Bruno Alesii’s advice to no-tillers: “If you are no-tilling and are happy with it, stay with it. It is the best system around,” he says.
“If you are no-tilling and you’re struggling with it because the soils are too wet or for whatever reason, and you are thinking of going back to conventional tillage, I suggest you give strip-till a try,” he adds.
And, he says, “If you’re not totally convinced that no-till or strip-till is the best way to go, ask yourself if you can afford to leave $10 to $15 per acre on the table because you’ve chosen the wrong system year in and year out. That adds up to real money pretty fast, especially if you’re farming 2,000 to 4,000 acres.”
Alesii served as conservation tillage director for Monsanto Company until retiring. His opinions grew stronger after Monsanto’s Centers of Excellence field trials showed a clear advantage for no-tilling and strip-tilling over conventional tillage.
“These were on-farm, large-scale field research demonstration trials designed to provide side-by-side comparisons of the different tillage systems,” he says. “We had the same soil types, weed control programs, fertilizer programs, seeding rates and other management practices. All those things were standardized.”
The Centers of Excellence provided 5 years of data from sites across the country, including 13 in the Midwest that used a corn and soybean rotation. The research was conducted with the help of local farmers and also third-party consultants who collected the data and wrote…