We’re excited to bring you this unique, one-of-a-kind learning experience assembling the best no-tillers, agronomists and researchers together in one location to share cutting-edge ideas, techniques and strategies to raise your level of no-till profitability, efficiency and efficacy.
Another great free-to-attend Spouses Program is available at the 27th annual event. View the 2019 Spouses Program now >>
TUESDAY, JANUARY 8
9:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
10:00 a.m. to Noon
2:00 to 5:00 p.m.
6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
VETERAN NO-TILLERS TO HEADLINE 2019 CONFERENCE
“Lessons Learned from 38 years of No-Till Farming Transitions”
No-Tiller and Farm Business Consultant
Lewiston, Idaho no-tiller and farm business consultant Dick Wittman will make his first speaking appearance at NNTC. Dedication to conservation and community is what’s driven Wittman and his family business partners to pursue no-till with a healthy rotation of fall- and spring-seeded crops that comprise a sustainable cropping system among the steep hills of the Palouse.
In his general session, Wittman will profile the evolution of his farm’s no-till practices over the last four decades, supported by the formation of the Pacific Northwest Direct Seed Assn., and discuss the importance of balancing economic and environmental benefits to improve profitability and quality of life on no-till operations. Wittman will also examine the value of collaborations with non-traditional partners and the importance of engaging in policy development related to conservation tillage.
Recognizing no-tillers today operate in a global environment that emphasizes the way goods are produced as being nearly as important as what is produced, Wittman’s classroom presentation will introduce the “principles of process improvement.” Wittman will show how no-tillers can implement process improvement on their farm, including developing standard operating procedures and identifying the risks of operating without them.
“No-Till Isn’t Just Planting — It’s a Year-Round Ecological System”
Rock Hall, Maryland
Innovative Rock Hall, Md., no-tiller Trey Hill will make his first speaking appearance at NNTC, discussing many of the cutting-edge planting and nutrient management practices being implemented on his 13,000-acre farm.
Hill will share in his general session how he effectively no-tills 13,000 acres of cover crops and cash crops at Harborview Farms while still doing his part to safeguard the environmentally sensitive Chesapeake Bay watershed. He’ll discuss the advantages and challenges of planting cash crops green into living cover crops vs. planting brown, and share some of the game-changing goals he’s set for his no-till operation as he participates in Bayer CropScience’s FarmForward initiative.
Hill will outline in his classroom session how he uses the whole no-till toolbox to manage nitrogen with precision on his operation. Hill will discuss how he balances carbon-to-nitrogen ratios with his cover crop program to balance organic matter production with nutrient availability, factoring in termination timing and starter fertilizer rates to optimize his N investment. Hill will also share precision tools he uses to diagnose and fix N management issues.
“How Seeding Cover Crops Can Slash Your Fertilizer Bills”
Carroll, Ohio no-tiller David Brandt will make another return to our 2019 event, bringing his expertise in cover crops, soil health and farm profitability to the table for attendees. In his general session, Brandt will help no-tillers understand how they can get more ROI from covers through making the proper adjustments to their farm’s nutrient program to reduce fertilizer costs without sacrificing yield.
Brandt will also share research data on 25 different corn hybrids seeded into high-biomass cover crops on his farm to examine differences in corn emergence, stands and yield. In his classroom session, Brandt will discuss what he’s learned from many years of interseeding cover crops into cash crops on his 1,100-acre farm, including what cover crop species have worked best and what his on-farm data has shown in terms of yield. Brandt will also discuss how corn hybrid choices and populations factor into successful cover crop establishment, and what to keep in mind when choosing interseeding equipment to achieve your no-till goals.
“Understanding and Perfecting Conservation Agriculture and Carbon Management on Your No-Till Operation”
Retired NRCS Soil Scientist
Carbon is at the crux of a highly functioning no-till system, but are you fully maximizing your farm’s ability to produce carbon and realize its benefit to your soils? Don Reicosky, retired soil scientist for the USDA-ARS in Morris, Minn., will discuss the connection between conservation agriculture and soil health principles that are elevating the importance of carbon management.
Reicosky will explain the differences in various cover crop characteristics as they affect biodiversity and relate to carbon production in soils, including carbon-to-nitrogen ratios, rooting characteristics and nutrient cycling. He’ll cover the role that living or dormant covers or dead biomass plays as an energy source for the soil biology and how increasing diversity elevates production challenges but enhances benefits to the soil and ecosystem.
The retired soil scientist for the USDA-ARS in Morris, Minn., will also lead a classroom session, “How Soil Disturbance Disrupts Your No-Tilling Efforts,” where he will share how tillage practices — even vertical tillage — and other soil disturbances fragment fungal hyphae networks and disrupt the balance between fungi and bacteria, and subsequently, carbon and nitrogen storage and utilization efficiencies. He’ll also share some potential solutions to managing soil conditions without resorting to tillage.
“Harvest Sunlight, Cater to Covers and Preserve Corn Yields with Wider Rows”
Retired John Deere Engineer & Farm Consultant
Are you looking for ways to boost soil health without taking fields out of production? Retired John Deere engineer and farm consultant Bob Recker might have the answer: By turning off every other row on your planter and doubling per row populations, 60-inch corn leaves space for cover crops, companion crops, grazing livestock and high-clearance equipment.
Recker, who operates Waterloo, Iowa-based Cedar Valley Innovation, will share how his system — discovered by accident in 2017 and now under study on 23 farms across the Midwest — can help no-tillers build soil health and leverage increased sunlight without dinging corn yields. He’ll share yield data, imagery and challenges experienced from growers working with this system.
Recker will also lead a classroom session, “Turning Aerial Scouting Into a Powerful Tool for No-Till Management.” Drawing on his experience with aerial scouting by planes, drones and satellite imagery, Recker will illustrate how a view from the air can help no-tillers get a new perspective on crop nutrient uptake, stands, water infiltration, crop maturity, drift issues and other no-till challenges. He’ll also discuss interpretation of aerial scouting results and how to address the problems either immediately or in the next growing season.
"Getting the Most From Your No-Till Operation by ‘Farming ‘Green’"
To Rick Clark, “Farming Green” is a systematic approach to regenerative soil health and that’s what he brings to the 7,000 acres he manages at both Clark Land & Cattle and for his family. A main component of his no-till system is maximizing cover crop performance and planting his cash crops into living covers to build biomass, suppress weeds, recycle nutrients and feed soil microbes.
The Williamsport, Ind., no-tiller of non-GMO corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa will share details about his unique system of tissue testing cover crops in spring to analyze soil nutrients taken up that could be available for the next cash crop. He’ll also share techniques and adjustments he’s made to successfully no-till crops into green covers and how he’s avoided having to make pesticide and fungicide applications for several years.
Clark will also lead a classroom sharing how he raises non-GMO feed for Dannon, including choosing the right hybrids and varieties for his corn, soybeans wheat and alfalfa. He’ll also cover how he manages cover crops and fights weeds in this system, and what’s leading him to convert some of his 7,000-acre farm to organic methods.
"Earthworms: Bioengineers and Sentinels of Living No-Tilled Soils"
Agriculture Consultant, Educator & Scientist
Most no-tillers know the presence of earthworms is an important sign of healthy soils, but their role in farming systems goes well beyond simply digesting residue and improving water infiltration with the tunnels they burrow, says Paul Reed Hepperly.
The Maryville, Tenn.-based agricultural consultant, educator and scientist has studied earthworms for many years and will share little-known facts about earthworm behavior and the important job these belowground creatures play in nutrient recycling and balancing soil acidity and soil health. The former research director at The Rodale Institute will also share how no-tillers can manage their acres to create a more favorable environment for earthworms to help their farm operation flourish even more.
Hepperly will also lead a classroom revealing the results of trials highlighting the competitiveness of organic no-till systems, especially in soybeans with their potentially 100% organic price premium and lower production costs. He’ll also discuss how to work through transition from traditional to organic no-tilling, including handling documentation and independent monitoring.
"Unlocking the Profit Potential of an Effective, Responsible No-Till Nutrient Management Program"
After 33 years of large plot, independent on-farm research, Marion Calmer, a veteran no-till farmer from western Illinois, has learned there’s a huge difference between maximum physical yield and maximum financial yield.
Calmer will discuss 10 years’ worth of yield, economic and soil-test data from his fertility plots and how he identifies profitable applications of nutrients. Years of surface applied phosphorus (P), potassium (K) and lime on these plots not only show P and K are stratifying, but his PH levels are as well. Drawing on his decades of no-till experience, Calmer will share some innovative ideas for managing nutrient challenges that could result in more dollars in your bank account without sacrificing yield.
Calmer will also lead a classroom where he’ll explain why no-till waterways fail and how they can be reshaped; the best way to prepare a no-till seedbed to stand up to water flow; seed mixtures that get you quick regrowth and withstand future attacks; equipment needs and setups; and the best time of year to establish or repair waterways.
“Get Better Results with a Systems Approach To No-Till And Soil Health”
University of Nebraska Extension
Paul Jasa, the ag engineer at University of Nebraska Extension will discuss why no-tillers should aim for 100% continuous no-till systems to promote proper no-till soil structure and nutrient cycling and facilitate proper heating and cooling of farm ground for raising better crops. He’ll also cover the advantages of diversifying no-till rotations with wheat or forages and explain the benefits of controlling wheel traffic in fields.
Jasa will also lead a classroom where he will help no-tillers develop a mindset to work through many variables with no-till planter setups, including proper adjustments to row units and the relationship between disc openers and operating depth. He will point out pros and cons to planting down the old row vs between old rows, how to use no-till soil structure to optimize proper planting depth, and the importance of weight distribution for the best planting results.
TWO HIGH-POWERED PRE-CONFERENCE WORKSHOPS TO HELP BOOST COVER CROP ADOPTION, SUCCESS
With only 10 million acres seeded across the U.S., cover crop adoption still has a long way to go, as many growers are missing out on the soil-saving, organic-matter-building, nutrient-cycling benefits of covers.
For no-tillers just starting out with cover crops, it can be tough finding the right step-off point for their own climate and soils, in spite of all the resources available today. And agronomists, seeds salespeople and NRCS staff face a difficult task of clearly communicating the benefits of cover crops to no-tillers and getting them started without creating confusion or unrealistic expectations.
At the 27th annual National No-Tillage Conference, Pennsylvania no-tiller and cover crop educator Steve Groff will lead two separate workshops to give attendees a better chance of achieving success with cover crops. Both workshops will be held Jan. 8, 2019 at the Downtown Marriott in Indianapolis.
The cost for either workshop is $75. Attendance will be limited to 75 people at each event on a first-come, first-served basis. Attendees must choose only one workshop and will not be permitted to attend both.
“Training the Trainers on Cover Crop Adoption”
January 8, 10 a.m. to noon | Limited to 75 Attendees | $75 to Attend
Groff will host a seminar for agronomists, seed salespeople, NRCS/Extension agents, researchers and other stakeholders in agriculture whose job is to work with growers to adopt cover crops and provide technical assistance or guidance.
Groff will cover roadblocks to adoption, setting realistic goals, what to do or NOT do when sharing anecdotes from innovators, and how to help growers understand the proper mindset for successful adoption. He’ll also cover mistakes cover crop seed salespeople need to avoid and share some tips for organizing field days that are helpful for growers
“Cover Crop Basics for Rookies and Early Adopters” — FOR FARMERS ONLY
January 8, 2-5 p.m. | Limited to 75 Attendees | $75 to Attend
Groff will shift gears Tuesday afternoon and provide valuable guidance and strategies for getting off the starting block with cover crops in a session geared toward cover crop rookies or those early in the adoption process.
Groff will discuss the mentality needed to make cover crops work, how to set realistic goals, evaluating the payback on covers and the pros and cons of different seeding methods. He’ll also provide some answers on common challenges for cover crop adopters like termination timing, nitrogen tie-up, herbicide carryover and planting green effectively.