I must admit to playing a little catch-up after spending all of last week in Springfield, Ill., working with my colleagues at No-Till Farmer to host the 22nd annual National No-Tillage Conference.

Our second-largest crowd ever with 1,024 attendees took in 4 days of no-till learning at the Springfield Hilton. While there were plenty of familiar faces, we still saw 408 first-time attendees. More than 500 first-timers were on hand last year at the NNTC in Indianapolis.

More and more, I’ve come to learn our audience has a thirst for learning. It seems to me that a no-tiller’s curiosity and willingness — or unwillingness — to learn seems to separate the truly successful farmers from the average ones.

Some interesting tips shared by our speakers at the conference last week:

  • Seeding cover crops can certainly help you fight weed pressure, but expecting them to replace herbicides altogether might be expecting too much.
  • Hard water in the spray tank appears to be contributing to problems with glyphosate resistance in parts of the U.S.
  • If soil is deficient in calcium and you put on more sulfur than needed, the sulfur will remove calcium.
  • Potassium levels above 7.5% will tie up boron and increase weed pressure.

You can learn about other tidbits that emerged from the National No-Tillage Conference by checking out our Twitter or Facebook pages. That’s really just the tip of the iceberg, as you will see as we roll out more useful tips and information from the conference this year in our print and electronic publications.

I’m going to issue a friendly challenge today: Dedicate yourself to being a learning farmer this year. Scout fields more often. Try tissue sampling for fertility levels. Add more precision technology to your no-till system. Give cover crops a try if you haven’t yet. Let’s stretch boundaries in 2014!

John Dobberstein,
Managing Editor
No-Till Farmer