Potential For No-Till Is ‘Unlimited’

No-till is feasible on more than 10 million acres in Ohio, but the path to success varies by soil type.

Even with the 130,000 acres grown last year, Ohio is nowhere near reaching its potential for no-till corn production.
 
A recent study indicates there are over 10.5 million acres of Ohio land suitable for no-till corn production. And no-till yields should be greater than or equal to those with any other tillage systems on nearly 6 million acres, say Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) agronomists.
 

New Ball Game

“The surface has just been scratched as far as no-till potential in Ohio is concerned,” says Ohio agronomist Grover Triplett Jr. “No-till, when properly performed, has the highest yield potential of any tillage choice on some soils.
 
“No-tillage planting is also possible whenever the soil is dry enough to plow — a significant factor in years with wet springs, such as 1973.”
 
Triplett and two other Ohio agronomists — Dave Van Doren Jr. and Sam Bone — have divided Ohio soils into five tillage groups based on soil properties and their influence on factors relating to no-till response.
 
The five soil groups, and an analysis of their possibilities for no-till, are shown at right.
 
While not the first choice in some instances, no-till may still be a good alternative for some soils.
 
“An example is in some areas of northwestern Ohio, where the first-choice system on some of the poorly drained soils may be to till the soil in the fall or early spring several weeks before planting,” says Triplett. “If fall or early-spring tillage isn’t accomplished, no-till planting may…
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