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“Save the good soil structure that’s been developed by no-tilling ground coming out of the Conservation Reserve Program...”— John Baker, Cross Slot Tillage Systems, Fielding, New Zealand
After 12-14 years of continuous no-till, Mark Alley says you’ll be able to dramatically trim nitrogen costs. The retired Virginia Tech University agronomist has research data that indicates long-term no-tillers definitely won’t need as much fertilizer as conventional-tilling neighbors.
Alley also pointed out that most growers can maximize their overall profitability by investing in starter fertilizers for quick plant growth when no-tilling corn.
Stressing the value of huge earthworm populations in no-tilled soils, Jill Clapperton suggests doing everything you can to house them, feed them and protect them. The rhizosphere ecologist at Alberta’s Lethbridge Research Center also cited the huge value that comes from all of your underground no-till partners.
“VAM fungi probably form the most intimate relationship between the plant, soil and soil organisms,” she says. “This illustrates the potential for using rhizosphere processes to dramatically improve both your no-till soil quality and productivity.”