We’ve always felt Indiana is a strong state for no-till adoption, which is evidenced by the strong readership we have there among farmers and the record crowd the National No-Tillage Conference drew in Indianapolis last year.
A recent blog post by Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) district support specialist Laura Fribley may help explain why no-till has grown over time in that state.
As Indiana farmers wrapped up planting this spring, local conservation agency teams around the state conducted “Tillage Transect” countywide surveys, which identify the types of tillage systems that farmers use and detail long-term trends of conservation-tillage adoption.
Indiana is the only state nationwide that still continually conducts the Tillage Transect, and the data is used by multiple agencies and publications.
Scott County, Ind., at least to the locals, may be considered the “No-Till Capital Of The World” because of what was found during the 2013 Indiana Tillage Transect.
Data culled from this county in far south-central Indiana found that reduced-tillage practices on the county’s corn and soybean acres this year have saved an estimated 75,100 gallons of diesel fuel compared to conventional tillage. Reduced tillage also saved 121,000 tons of soil, Fribley wrote.
Conservation tillage — which Fribley defined as leaving at least 30% or more crop residue cover — can help reduce soil erosion by 50% or more compared to bare soil, Fribley says, and no-till can cut erosion by 75%.
No-till is quite the tradition in this county, apparently. Fribley mentioned Ed Roll, a resource specialist with the ISDA who has assisted with 13 Scott County tillage transects since they began in 1990. Roll and his brother began no-tilling in the early 1980s by renting a no-till corn planter and drill from area conservation districts.
“Over the years, a lot of agencies encouraged no-till and a lot of local producers adopted these conservation-tillage methods,” Fribley quotes Roll as saying. “Scott County has always had a good amount, which is why we’ve been locally called the 'No-Till Capital of the World.'”
Farmers obviously must make the final decision on how they raise crops. But that’s not to say local officials don’t play a major role in the fate of no-till adoption as they decide whether or not to push harder for the practice.
So how is no-till doing in your area? Can you make a case for your county being the “No-Till Capital of the World?” Send me an e-mail and let me know, or scroll down to the bottom of this page to comment!