Franks Comments: No-Tillers are Covering Up

The way some government agencies and ag groups are promoting cover crops these days, you’d think it was a brand new cropping practice. But while cover crops are a hot topic, it’s not because of any major research breakthroughs or being new on the ag scene. Instead, cover crops are offering a soil health message that’s starting to catch on with many folks both in and out of agriculture — a benefit that no-tillers have seen for many years.

As a kid growing up in the late 1940s on our family’s Centennial Farm in Michigan, I remember Dad seeding red clover after cutting silage corn for our dairy herd. And while recently looking back at some early copies of No-Till Farmer, there was an article in the August 1973 issue entitled “Aerial Seeding Is Working” with cover crops, along with an ad for Paraquat herbicide that asked, “Who’d plant rye in a stand of corn?” The answer was innovative no-tillers who were looking to reduce costs by seeding a fall cover crop.

Different Benefits.

What’s interesting is that no-tillers saw the many benefits of seeding cover crops well ahead of growers using other tillage practices. Since no-tillers keep residue on the ground all year long, seeding cover crops to reduce soil, water and wind erosion isn’t as important as with more intensive tillage systems. Instead, no-tillers rely on cover crops to improve soil health, trim fertilizer costs, aid in weed control and to improve other economic and environmental benefits.

In…

To view the content, please subscribe or login.
 Premium content is for our Digital-only and Premium subscribers. A Print-only subscription doesn't qualify. Please purchase/upgrade a subscription with the Digital product to get access to all No-Till Farmer content and archives online. Learn more about the different versions and what is included.

Lessiter_frank

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.

Top Articles

Current Issue

Cover_NTF_January_0120_198w.jpg

No-Till Farmer

Get full access NOW to the most comprehensive, powerful and easy-to-use online resource for no-tillage practices. Just one good idea will pay for your subscription hundreds of times over.

View More

Must Read Free Eguides

Download these helpful knowledge building tools

View More
Top Directory Listings