Concerned about the future of no-tilled corn, Illinois Department of Agriculture officials are launching a program aimed at expanding conservation tilled acres. The program will include research on the benefits of fall strip-tilling to overcome the cool, wet soil problems often found with no-till.
“We’ve made great progress in soil conservation efforts,” says Illinois Agriculture Director Joe Hampton, “but I am concerned about the recent downward trend in the use of conservation tillage in corn. This pilot project will show that farmers can leave residue on the field and still have the yields they expect.”
Alan Gulso, water quality coordinator in the Bureau of Land & Water Resources in Springfield Ill., says the department is definitely serious about increasing no-till acres.
With funding through the Conservation 2000 program, this state-wide project will be jointly administered by the Illinois Department of Agriculture and the McLean County Soil and Water Conservation District.
Conservation Tillage Specialists
The department has contracted with Jim and Brian Kinsella of Lexington, Ill., to provide expertise on further adoption of high residue management systems. These veteran no-tillers will help plan ways to increase the adoption of high residue systems over current Illinois levels by 25 percent in 2005 and by 50 percent in 2010. The father and son team will also provide direction to a number of research and demonstration plots and conduct training systems on high residue management systems.
Grants are being provided to Soil and Water Conservation Districts to help farmers establish…