Balancing Manure, No-Till In A Challenging Locale

No-Tiller Brian Newcombe strives for application accuracy to maximize value of nutrients and keep peace with his neighbors.

Despite having a nominated “Natural Wonder” and busy village of 1,000 people in his backyard, no-tiller Brian Newcombe still finds a way to make manure a valuable part of his farming operation.

“No-till is challenging enough on a good day with 60-plus inches of annual precipitation,” says Newcombe, a 9th-generation farmer who no-tills 1,800 acres of corn, soybeans and wheat near Port Williams, Nova Scotia. “Add manure and residential neighbors and it becomes a lot to deal with.

“We want to use our manure resource, stay true to no-till and not offend the neighbors or cause environmental issues.”

Cornwallis Farms has a 252-year history of producing diverse agricultural products in the fertile micro climate of Annapolis Valley. In addition, Newcombe and his brother, Craig, operate a 70-head dairy and layer and broiler chicken operations.

From the dairy, they have solid, liquid and composted manure. The layers produce a semi-solid manure and the broilers provide dry manure.

Manure is a great resource at a time when input costs are tough to stomach, but his hilly fields also drain into the Bay of Fundy.

The unique bay is known for the highest tides in the world, a diverse ecosystem and was a nominee for the new, “7 Wonders Of The Natural World” list.

Accuracy A Must

“It’s important to fully utilize all nutrients, whether they’re purchased or produced,” Newcombe says. “You want to make sure manure is spread evenly, at an accurate rate, so crop yields are as even as they can…

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Martha mintz new

Martha Mintz

Since 2011, Martha has authored the highly popular “What I’ve Learned About No-Till” series that has appeared in every issue of No-Till Farmer since August of 2002.

Growing up on a cattle ranch in southeastern Montana, Martha is a talented ag writer and photographer who lives with her family in Billings, Montana.

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