Soil Health

Our Soil, Our Life

No-tilling helps this Wisconsin couple improve soil quality and preserve it for future generations.
While most Corn Belt no-tillers grow only corn and soybeans, Charlie Hammer prefers a three-way rotation. The operator of Hammer & Kavazanjian Farms with his wife Nancy Kavazanjian at Beaver Dam, Wis., prefers a no-till rotation evenly split between corn, soybeans and wheat in the farm’s 2,300-acre operation.
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Compaction Can Threaten Unsuspecting No-Tillers

Just because you’re no-tilling doesn’t mean a hardpan can’t undermine all your cropping efforts from the roots up.
No-tillers know the threat that compaction poses to their crops. And although no-tilling minimizes the risk of compaction, no-tillers might not understand how a hardpan might still sneak into their fields.
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Some of Your Friends Live Underground

Earthworms can accomplish a lot in undisturbed fields, and no-tillers are in perfect position to capitalize, says this speaker at the 2006 National No-Tillage Conference.
Field scouting usually happens in broad daylight. But to scout for one indicator of the vitality of your no-till fields, it’s best to step out after dark, or dusk at earliest. Then look for earthworms.
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No-Till’s A No-Brainer

With a few critical management changes, no-till has been the best investment ever made in this farming operation.
Even with a cold and wet spring in 2004, Tim Goodenough readily saw the many benefits of no-tilling with corn yielding as high as 265 bushels and soybeans reaching 67 bushels per acre.
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Take the Next Step With Mature No-Till Fields

Long-term no-tillers earn rewards from improved soils, but they also face new questions as they try to make the most of their evolving fields.
Dan Gillespie wonders if long-time no-tillers are taking full advantage of the improvements in their soils. Gillespie, a continuous no-tiller in Meadow Grove, Neb., for the past 15 years, is putting his own soils to the test and sharing his answers.
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NRCS Computer Program Calculates Soil Quality, Erosion

No-tillers, especially those involved in the Conservation Security Program, have good reasons to pay attention to the new formula.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service now measures trends in soil organic matter and erosion with a recently developed formula known as RUSLE2, short for Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation, Version 2.
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Frank Comments

Buy High-Fertility Land

With no-tillers earning higher per-acre returns than farmers still relying on extensive tillage, many are looking for more land to farm. That’s why you’ll find the results of a recent survey of land prices based on fertility levels to be of special interest because of your no-till experiences.
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No-Till’s Greatest Allies

If you’re wondering how earthworms might be doing in your no-tilled soils, this researcher may surprise you with his results.
Earthworms are nature’s tillers and their presence is a key component in successful no-tilling. But how many do you have? And how many do you want?
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Frank Comments

More Carbon, No-Till Corn

Although previous studies have indicated significant carbon losses from plowing, a new Agricultural Research Service study indicates that there may not be a huge loss if a farmer plows only once.
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