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Name: John Aeschliman
Title: No-tiller in the Palouse, founding member and treasurer of the Pacific Northwest Direct Seed Association
Location: Colfax, wash.
Number Of Years No-Tilling: 25
No-Tilled Crops: Winter Wheat, spring wheat, spring barley, Corn, garbanzo beans, mustard and canola.
When I was a kid, I knew it was spring when the mud roared off our highly erodible hills, across the roads and flowed through our farm yard.
When I started farming in 1965, I was determined to stop the horrendous loss of topsoil from water and wind erosion that was caused by tilling these 50 to 60 percent slopes in eastern Washington. For three generations, we had grown winter wheat rotated with 12 months of fallow.
My grandfather taught my father to plow and my father taught me how to plow. After 25 years of direct seeding and new cropping programs, no soil runs off and no soil blows off our ground today. As a result, I’m not teaching my son to plow.
Direct seeding causes phenomenal change. A century of erosion caused by the moldboard plow has moved 1 to 2 feet of soil from our ridges, exposing clays and leachy layers. Over the years, yields plummeted.
After seeing what direct seeding can do in our cropping operation, it’s no wonder that we get passionate about it. Our soil organic matter is being rebuilt, earthworms and soil microbes are springing back to life and we’re getting the equivalent of bottom-ground…