To manage no-till residues effectively, Kevin Melville asks several critical questions during and after harvest.
While his father, Tim, and brother, Kurt farm separately, they also work together on 2,250 acres of direct seeded crops near Joseph, Ore.
With precipitation ranging from 12 to 20 inches in fields at a 3,800 to 4,800 foot elevation, all of the ground is irrigated.
Concentrating on certified seed production, the family no-tills wheat, barley, peas, alfalfa, canola, and white clover in 3- to 8-year rotations.
After direct seeding for several years, the no-tillers learned the hard way that a diverse crop rotation is essential to successful direct seeding on their farms. For this reason, they use several rotations based on climate conditions, soil type or disease problems that they have in a particular field.
Some of the rotations include: a 3-year rotation of wheat, barley, peas or canola; a 4-year rotation of wheat, peas, barley and canola; a 6-year rotation of wheat, wheat, peas or canola, barley, barley, peas or canola; a 7-year rotation of peas, clover, wheat, wheat, canola, barley, barley; and an 8-year rotation of alfalfa the first 5 years and barley the last 3 years.
The Melvilles use two drills for direct seeding. One is a 13-foot 1320 Yielder Drill and the other is a 30-foot Concord Air Drill equipped with a 2400 seed cart. They have owned the Yielder drill for a number of years and the Concord drill was purchased in 1998.
The Yielder no-till drill is set…