Conservation Tillage A Worldwide Thing

Growers on three continents compare notes on their challenges, methods and equipment for best results.

Thanks to the magic of computers, no-tillers and would-be no-tillers from the far corners of the Earth can conveniently get together. That’s what happened recently, when growers from Scotland, England, New Zealand and the U.S. met at Farmers Forum, No-Till Farmer’s online message board. Here’s how they found common ground.

Sowing Crops In Wet Soil

Here in Scotland we tend to have wet soil in both autumn and spring. Autumn-sown crops seem to do OK with minimum-till, but spring barley seems to be just too choosy for this system. Any tips?

Also, are there any areas in the States that have the same sort of conditions? The big problem we have is that September and October (the seeding months) tend to be the wettest months of the year.

—Colin, colin@mitchell347.freeserve.co.uk

Most of the no-till in the U.S. is in the Midwestern corn- and soybean-growing areas, which don’t plant a lot of cereal crops like wheat and barley. No-till cereals are grown in the drier areas west of the corn-growing areas and in western Canada. In these cereal-growing areas, too little moisture is a greater problem than too much.

Corn and bean growers usually use row cleaners to remove residue in front of the planter opener and can plant between the previous rows if necessary. No-till corn and soybean planters use well-designed openers to open a seed slot and then cover the seed without excessive soil disturbance. The seed row is left free of residue so it can dry and warm…

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