The Lowdown From Dakota Lakes

Dwayne Beck shares some preliminary eye-opening results and current studies from the all-no-till research farm.

 A regular favorite at the National No-Tillage Conference, Dwayne Beck’s 2 decades of work at the Dakota Lakes Research Farm near Pierre, S.D., has revealed a depth of data to support his claim that, “In nature, tillage is a catastrophic event.” 

From a recent half-day tour of the research facility, we’ve picked some of the most intriguing and thought-provoking points recently revealed on the farm.

Beck, who recently had hip replacement surgery, assures us he will be back “on his own two feet” when he presents to the 18th annual National No-Tillage Conference crowd in Des Moines next January.

Stop Wasting Water

Beck says the overriding theme at Dakota Lakes since Day No. 1 has been to mimic Mother Nature in terms of water balance, cycling of nutrients and harvesting of sunlight. All of the many ongoing projects at the 840-acre facility focus on at least one and usually all three of these principles. The farm has been totally no-till for 20 years.

Knowing the water-holding capacity of your soil is a must to make the best use of rainfall and snowmelt, whether you’re in a high or low precipitation area, Beck says.

“Around this area, we get about 18 inches a year,” he adds. “So, how can we manage that for more farm profit?

“Suppose you have the old eco-fallow rotation of wheat, corn (sorghum) and fallow. Corn quits using water about Oct. 1. That means nearly a 12-month interval between corn harvest and the recommended early September wheat…

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.

Ross ron

Ron Ross

Ron Ross pioneered the “What I’ve Learned from No-Tilling” series that has appeared in every issue of No-Till Farmer since August of 2002. He authored more than 100 of these articles.

A graduate of South Dakota State University’s agricultural journalism program, Ross spent most of his career as a writer and editor.

Top Articles

Current Issue


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.

Subscribe Now

View More

Must Read Free Eguides

Download these helpful knowledge building tools

View More
Top Directory Listings