As you’re reading this note today I hope you’re getting ready for a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with family or friends. And I also hope there is some time for reflection on what to be thankful for in your life, whether it was a good or bad year.
This month is known as No-Till November, a campaign started by NRCS agronomist Neil Sass to encourage farmers to park their tillage implements and “keep the stubble” on their harvested fields to help improve soil health.
Most of you are probably in the choir already by no-tilling or advising and supporting the practice. But someday soon you may bump into another farmer at the coffee shop or convenience store who is still clean-tilling their fields and proud of it. Can you say enough to plant a seed in their mind, or do you just shrug and walk away?
Here are some talking points from the NRCS about the value of reduced tillage and no-till that might come handy the next time you’re in one of those seemingly hopeless debates:
- No-till saves fuel and labor and reduces equipment costs.
- No-till absorbs the energy of raindrop impacts, reducing soil erosion and crusting.
- No-till keeps the wind off the soil surface, reducing windblown soil.
- Crop stubble from no-till captures snowfall in fields, adding valuable soil moisture and reducing drifting on the roads.
- No-till residue provides a mulch to reduce soil moisture evaporation, especially next summer.
- No-till residue feeds the soil system by allowing residue to decay naturally.
I’ll just end this note by saying I’m thankful we live in a country that is so blessed with the technology and expertise to support no-till operations that are producing food for the world efficiently and effectively. Let’s hope more farmers who aren’t no-tilling will think about taking advantage of these tools in 2019.