When it comes to deciding to move to no-till or reduced tillage, soybean growers say the biggest influence has been the introduction of biotechnology seed.
A recent study by the American Soybean Association (ASA) indicates that 73 percent of U.S. soybean growers are leaving more crop residue on the soil surface than in 1996, the year bio-tech beans first became available to most farmers. In fact, more than half of the surveyed soybean growers say Roundup Ready soybeans are the major factor that led them to reduced tillage.
“Biotechnology gave farmers another tool to control weeds that reduce yields and lower the quality of our crops. At the same time, it helps improve our stewardship of the environment,” says ASA president Bart Ruth.
The Rising City, Neb., soybean grower says no-till and reduced till are the preferred planting method on more than 80 percent of all U.S. soybean acres. “The majority of growers in the ASA study said that the Roundup Ready system made possible through biotechnology was the biggest reason that they have adopted or increased their use of conservation tillage practices.”
Some 48 percent of the growers increased no-till bean acres during the past half-dozen growing seasons and no-till soybean acres more than doubled to 49 percent of all soybean acres. Reduced-tilled acres increased by one-fourth and is now used on 33 percent of total soybean acres.
Some 53 percent of the growers are making fewer tillage passes. By doing so, they saved 247 million…