No-Till Odds And Ends

Part of the opportunity for me to recently present the “S.H. Phillips Distinguished Lecture In No-Till Agriculture” at the University of Kentucky was the chance to spend the day talking with faculty members and graduate students from around the world. Phillips was a pioneer in the early 1960s in getting no-till started on a commercial scale. And he would certainly be proud to know no-till has grown to an astounding 288 million acres today around the world.

While I was humbled to be asked to present this lecture, meeting with department members and graduate students was also a great experience. Here are a few no-till odds and ends discussed during the day.

1 While you hear many arguments about not being able to no-till continuous corn, Kentucky scientists have plots where no-till continuous corn has been grown for 40 years without any concerns.

2 When it comes to effective weed control, applying just 1pound of atrazine can do wonders in no-till fields. Too many no-tillers use no atrazine or only apply a half rate, that doesn’t control as many weeds.

3 In parts of Asia, farmers don’t leave residue on the soil surface with no-till, since they need to burn straw for cooking and heating.

4 Pop-up fertilizer is mainly used for aesthetic benefits — as a means of pleasing landlords in the spring and early summer with good-looking crops. Studies indicate pop-up fertilizer has little yield impact.

5 Argentine graduate students say 70% of the corn, soybeans and sunflowers…

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Frank Lessiter

Frank Lessiter has served as editor of No-Till Farmer since the publication was launched in November of 1972. Raised on a six-generation Michigan Centennial Farm, he has spent his entire career in agricultural journalism. Lessiter is a dairy science graduate from Michigan State University.

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