With low grain prices and a declining wheat acreage, Guy Swanson believes winter canola could replace a considerable amount of the winter wheat grown in the western U.S. The result could be higher incomes for no-tillers, bonus opportunities for turning out a high-quality product and a dramatic reduction in soil erosion.
This guest blog is based on comments originally left by No-Till Farmer reader John
Meyer, a no-tiller with 400 acres just west of Stewartville, Minn. His comments were in
response to Frank Lessiter’s May 2018 No-Till Farmer column titled, “Same Old
Conservation Ideas, Just New Words to Describe Them.”
While there’s increasing emphasis on “sustainable agriculture” and “soil health,” these four buzzwords tend to ruffle the feathers of veteran no-tillers and others like myself who have followed the no-till movement for nearly a half century. It’s because we recognize that earlier generations of no-tillers were the original true innovators behind these “not-so-new” concepts that go back to the 1960s.
At Brickstead Dairy in Greenleaf, Wis., the focus is on tomorrow as much as it is on today. Gene Brick and his son Dan, fourth- and fifth-generation no-till farmers, take seriously their roles as caretakers of the soil. Dan uses cover crops to protect the soil and surrounding streams and rivers.
A success story in Lovelock, Nevada, where several years of drought have plagued the area and cover crops were the answer for some farmers. It was a gamble that paid off in addressing soil erosion with the help of NRCS.
Ada Soil and Water Conservation District shares story of Jason Miller, who adopted a system including cover crops and mob grazing and no-tilled corn in furrow irrigation on his farm near Marsing, Idaho, to reduce soil erosion and improve soil health.
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