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To maximize above-ground profits, Ed Winkle maintains that no-tillers must be attuned to the basics of what’s happening under the ground. The certified crop adviser with HyMark Consulting in Blanchester, Ohio, says a proper balance of oxygen, hydrogen and carbon is critical to harvesting top no-till yields.
Without proper nutrient balance, Winkle maintains that you are never going to get high no-till yields. To make his case, he points to the success that Manchester, Iowa, grower Francis Childs has achieved with a massive root structure that has led in part to record-breaking corn yields. In some cases, he has twice the root growth of other fields that Winkle has observed.
“Francis Childs doesn’t talk about tile drainage — it’s a given,” adds Winkle. “If you don’t have water and aeration, why even start? You’d be setting your goals for low-yielding crops.”
Winkle finds that some agronomists believe an ideal soil balance is 45 percent minerals, 25 percent water, 25 percent air and 5 percent organic matter. With the proper soil, air and water balance, he says your no-till soils will warm up quicker, you’ll have less compaction and you’ll enjoy better aeration. This provides a more favorable environment for soil microorganisms that may be the key to high-yielding no-till fields. Winkle says the addition of a soil fungi product, such as T-22 Root Shield, may also stimulate additional microbial interaction. In fields lacking microbial interaction, the simple addition of soil fungi made a huge difference and there…