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When it comes to finding ways to trim costs, Plains growers are trimming tillage, seeking alternative crops, finding new ways to expand corn and soybean acres farther west, extending rotations, eliminating fallow with annual cropping and giving new herbicides a try.
Over the past five years, no-till acres in Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming have grown from 6.6 million acres per year to 11.3 million acres. That’s an astounding increase of 72 percent since 1994!
John Howell, regional marketing manager for Monsanto, told No-Till Farmer editors at a recent Monsanto conference that he sees high growth potential for both no-till and mulch tillage over the next few years in the Plains.
This change, Howell believes, will be fueled by the current tense economic farm situation, the need to change farming practices to survive, reduced Roundup herbicide pricing, more experience with conservation tillage, the ability to farm more acres with reduced tillage and the use of new seeding equipment coming on the market.
Maurice Foresman, Monsanto’s regional business director for the Plains area, says a long growing season in the West encourages further no-till expansion. “One reason is growers have already been involved with no-till and have been quick to look carefully at the benefits of biotechnology, new crops and new ways to improve their bottom lines,” he says.
New developments with Roundup offer a full arsenal of weed-control options. Besides Roundup Ultra, growers can use Roundup Custom, a highly concentrated…