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What I've Learned From No-Tilling: Direct Seeding Is A Whole New Ballgame!

A major advantage of no-till, direct seeding and similar systems is that you don’t have to break the bank to get started.

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Name: BOB LINNELL

Title: LOW-DISTURBANCE DIRECT SEEDING FARMER AND EXECUTIVE MANAGER OF WINTER CEREALS CANADA, INC.

Location: WEYBURN, SASKATCHEWAN

Number Of Years No-Tilling: 12

Acres: 1,100

No-Tilled Crops: DURUM WHEAT, PEAS, FLAX, Lentils and canary seed

Farm Integrity is amazing when it comes to adapting a new idea.

Back in 1994, low disturbance, direct seeding systems (LDS), which require no pre-working of the soil before planting, was just catching the interest of Saskatchewan farmers. The innovators were tired of seeing topsoil that took several decades to develop, blow away in less than 48 hours.

Today, nearly 40 percent of our Saskatchewan growers have jumped on the LDS bandwagon, with another 30-plus percent using high-disturbance air seeders with sweeps and harrows. That’s a monumental shift no matter how you figure it.

These are not the farmers who wrung their hands and asked, “What are we going to do now?” These are the ones who asked ,“What can we do to improve?”

It’s a whole different farming philosophy. And they now lead the world in direct-seeding technology. We don’t have dust storms anymore where we direct seed.

Managing Residue Is Critical

Direct seeding success starts with residue management and that starts at the back of the combine. How straw and chaff is handled determines the success of direct seeding for the next crop. In fact, chaff can often be traced as the cause of many disease and volunteer grain problems.

Combine manufacturers have made it relatively easy to manage…

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Ross_ron

Ron Ross

Ron Ross pioneered the “What I’ve Learned from No-Tilling” series that has appeared in every issue of No-Till Farmer since August of 2002. He authored more than 100 of these articles.

A graduate of South Dakota State University’s agricultural journalism program, Ross spent most of his career as a writer and editor.

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