Soil Health

Soil Health

View the secret underground world of soil livestock —including beneficial bacteria, mycorrhizal fungi and earthworms — that are essential to building healthy no-tilled soils and reducing your cost of production.

ARTICLES

[Podcast] Building Up Your No-Till Nutrient Management to Protect the Environment and Your Profitability

In this episode of the <em>No-Till Farmer</em> podcast, brought to you by Yetter Manufacturing, we're joined by co-director of the University of Wisconsin’s Discovery Farms program Amber Radatz who will share on-farm data from more than 200 site years in Wisconsin and Minnesota.
In this episode of the No-Till Farmer podcast, brought to you by Yetter Manufacturing, we're joined by co-director of the University of Wisconsin’s Discovery Farms program Amber Radatz who will share on-farm data from more than 200 site years in Wisconsin and Minnesota.
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Combatting Compaction with Cover Crops

A relentless 75-acre compaction problem gave Brownsburg, Ind., farmer Mike Starkey perspective on the sustainable, cost-effective advantages of a no-till, cover crop system.
During the summer of 2011, Brownsburg, Ind., corn, soybean and wheat no-tiller Mike Starkey agreed to host the John Deere Roll-Out new equipment event on his farm, leasing out a 75-acre corn plot at the entrance of his 2,600-acre operation.
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U.K. Grower Shares Success Stories from His Conversion from Full Tillage to Direct Drilling

Reports of his retirement have been greatly exaggerated as David White is direct drilling various crops on light ‘boys’ land near Cambridge, England.
Farming 400 acres of combinable crops on light ‘boys’ land between Cambridge and Newmarket, I’ve just had my third direct-drilled harvest. I’m 100% combinable, having been a sugarbeet grower since the days of hand hoeing, as well as offering a drilling and harvesting service with a 6-row tanker in the past.
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Piecing Together a No-Till System from the Ground Up

A family that ignored naysayers and embraced no-till practices and living roots is bringing productivity back to tough clay soils and riverbottoms in southern Indiana.
Joe Kern and his father, John, admit they’re still dealing with a learning curve. But through working with no-till practices they’re transforming their “clay pot” soils into acreage that recently produced up to 240-bushel corn and 80-bushel soybeans.
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Getting Out of the Rut with No-Tilling, Cover Crop Interseeding, Weed Suppression

Tom Cotter is boosting the value of his soils in the heart of the Corn Belt by putting the iron away and keeping his fields covered and active year round.
It's easy to get stuck in a rut with farming, but that’s a major reason Tom Cotter did the opposite of that and turned to no-tilling and interseeding cover crops to rejuvenate his farm.
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Best Practices for Avoiding Compaction at Harvest

Ag engineer Paul Jasa shares some actionable information about avoiding compaction issues this fall during harvest to pave the way for planting next spring.
In some areas, fall rains have left the fields soft and ruts are being cut into the soil during harvest. These ruts leave the soil surface rough and have severe compaction below them.
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IMAGE GALLERIES

Pulse Crops Amplify Production and Profits

Gordon Stoner no-tills his 12,000 acres of durum, green field peas, lentils, flax and corn in Outlook, Mont. The 22-year no-till veteran moved from a wheat-fallow rotation to pulse crops and has seen his soils and bottom line both greatly improve.

For more information on Stoner’s operation, read the What I’ve Learned From No-Tilling article: Diversity, No-Till and Continuous Cropping Bring Big Impacts to Bottom Line, published in November 2016. (Subscription)

PRODUCTS

NNTC16 Audio Presentations

How Can We Evaluate Soil Biological Properties for a Better Understanding of Soil Health? - Lance Gunderson - NNTC 2016 Presentation - MP3 Download

$19.95

Soil is teaming with life. Billions of bacteria and miles of fungal filaments act as micronutrient stores and miniature highway transport systems that help a soil function to support a healthy plant community. Measuring a soil’s biological system, however, is complex and very different from the more traditional soil testing methods aimed at a soil’s fertility. Tests such as Solvita, Haney, and PLFA help producers evaluate their soil’s biological system and we are now beginning to understand and appreciate what this means for the health and function of our soils. Lance Gunderson, the executive director of soil health and new test development at Ward Laboratories in Kearney, Neb., will introduce these tests, their components and how to interpret the results, along with discussing how on-farm management may influence the soil’s biology and overall health.

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NNTC16 Audio Presentations

Staring Down No-Till Challenges in a Dairy Operation - John Kemmeren - NNTC 2016 Presentation - MP3 Download

$19.95

Faced with farming highly erodible hill ground and a strong desire to improve soil life, John and Dianne Kemmeren began no-tilling on their Bainbridge, N.Y., dairy farm 40 years ago. John explains the challenges they face, how they handle manure from their 200-head dairy herd and how they manage a 3-year rotation of hay, corn and cover crops to keep the soil covered 365 days a year. John also shares how healthy, high organic-matter soils have allowed them to cut fertilizer inputs by 75% while increasing yield, and reviews their double-cropping trial results, the growth of grazing corn, interseeding legumes into sudangrass and the use of Italian ryegrass as a nurse crop.

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NNTC16 Audio Presentations

Turning a Profit and Improving the Health of Thin, Abused Piedmont Soils - Jim Howard - NNTC 2016 Presentation - MP3 Download

$19.95

Thanks to centuries of erosion and tillage, annual dry periods during the growing season, equipment pressure and traffic, the soils in the Piedmont region of North Carolina are thin from abuse. But Jim Howard and his son, Branson, are working to turn that around on their 450-acre no-till corn, wheat and double-cropped soybean operation. Aiming to be a good steward of the land while increasing yields, limiting risk and maintaining profits, Howard shares how multiple crop rotations, cover crops, soil testing, variety selection and a limited equipment lineup are keys to his no-till operation. He also shares the knowledge he’s gained from working with successful farmers during his 30-plus years in agricultural sales.

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NNTC16 Audio Presentations

Measures for Protecting, Building Quality No-Till Soils - Steve Berger - NNTC 2016 Presentation - MP3 Download

$19.95

The rolling hills and bottomlands of southeastern Iowa are anything but simple to farm, leaving Steve Berger and his father, Dennis, with the challenge of saving their soil while building it up. Through 36 years of no-till, the Bergers have gained a lot of knowledge on how to manage residue within crop production to develop a highly functioning microbial system. The Wellman, Iowa, no-tiller explains the use of cover crops like cereal rye in a corn-soybean rotation and how they utilize hog manure effectively from their farrow-to-finish swine operation — all with the aim of leaving soils better than when the Bergers started farming them.

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Blazing a Path to Profitability with Controlled Traffic Farming

Blazing a Path to Profitability with Controlled Traffic Farming

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$12.95
Have you ever thought about the benefits you could accrue from adding controlled traffic farming (CTF) to your no-till operation? This 24-page report gives you overview of what you need to know about controlled traffic, how CTF can reduce compaction and increase yields and much, much more. View
NNTC 2015 Speaker Presentation

Understanding the Impact of No-Till on Soil Organic Carbon Sequestraion Rates - Kenneth Olson - NNTC 2015 Presentation - MP3 Download

$19.95

No-till systems have been promoted as a valuable tool to increase soil organic carbon (SOC) sequestration and reduce soil erosion vs. intensive tillage systems. While numerous approaches to estimate the amounts and rates of SOC sequestration in no-till have been published, Ken Olson says questions abound on the protocol for assessing rates.

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NNTC 2015 Speaker Presentation

Getting A Handle On Tools To Measure The Health Of No-Tilled Soils - Towery and Kok - NNTC 2015 Presentation - MP3 Download

$19.95

Several new tools are available today that can help no-tillers get a better handle on the amount of soil biological activity and adjustments that can be made to their fertility program. Dan Towery, no-till consultant with Ag Conservation Solutions, and Hans Kok, certified crop advisor, will provide details on the workings of several popular tests — the Cornell soil health test, the Solvita test and the PLFA soil test.

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NNTC 2015 Speaker Presentation

Balancing Insecticide Use And Soil Health Through An IPM Approach - John Tooker - NNTC 2015 Presentation - MP3 Download

$19.95

Integrated Pest Management is more than just knowing what to spray and when, John Tooker says. The Penn State University entomologist says no-tillers need to think more broadly about their approach to insect control to consider how use of insecticides impact soil health, onfarm diversity of beneficial insects and whole farming systems.

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NNTC 2015 Speaker Presentation

Improving Soil Structure, Reducing Compaction Naturally Within No-Till - Jim Hoorman - NNTC 2015 Presentation - MP3 Download

$19.95

Long-term studies show soil compaction reduces yields by 30%. Jim Hoorman says poor soil structure and compaction are common, especially where conventional tillage has been used extensively, but even no-tillers often see little improvement or slow gains in soil structure.

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NNTC 2015 Speaker Presentation

Where Plants Thrive, Soils Are Healthy (And Understanding Why That Is) - Jill Clapperton - NNTC 2015 Presentation - MP3 Download

$19.95

When you know what lives and works in the soil, Jill Clapperton says it’s much easier to understand how no-till and crop rotation work together to regenerate and maintain healthy, productive soil.

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EVENTS

Live

UW Discovery Farms Conference

12/12/18
Glacier Canyon Conference Center
45 Hillman Road
Wisconsin Dells, WI
United States
Contact: Erica Olson
The UW Discovery Farms 7th Annual Conference will be held in Dec. 12 in Wisconsin Dells, Wis., and will include a group of innovative speakers from three states. Read More

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