Opportunities A-Plenty With No-Till

To further illustrate the many opportunities that abound with no-till, this no-tiller surveyed the big wigs to crystallize that no-till works—and gained some valuable ideas in the process.

While no-till isn’t a brand-new technique anymore, it is only now that we can reflect and improve upon the methods we’ve been using to save the farm, soils and the environment.

Surveying eight bang-up no-tillers averaging 15 years of no-till experience each, Ron Bell of Birtle, Manitoba, gathered invaluable information that encompasses 119 years of solid no-tilling trials and tribulations. Here’s what he found out.

Benefits, Opportunities with No-Till

  • Wild oats were definitely more difficult to control with conventional tillage.


  • Carbon sequestering will provide no-till a major advantage over other systems.

McCutcheon, McPhee, Bennett, Wady, Heise

  • We now see fewer hours on the tractor and more hours on the combine.


  • We get a consistent yield across the no-till field.


  • Moisture management and soil quality improvements have taken the risk out of no-tilled crops.


  • Soil aggregation and infiltration (which was unexpected) have drastically improved.


  • Guaranteed good seedbed.


  • Better contribution to wildlife habitat.


Dealing With THE Challenges Of No-Till

  • I experienced excess moisture in wet years; to deal with this challenge, I completed drainage using GPS survey results. Now I’m seeding as early as anyone.


  • Flax yields are tending to go down; a complete soil test showed there may be a correlation between poor yields and higher calcium levels.


  • Weeds have always been a big problem; we’ve solved this with management through rotations, forages, competition and a good chemical program.


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