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Research:No-till leads to higher yield

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  • rajutitus lal
    Research:No-till leads to higher yields The latest research from the University Nebraska-Lincoln shows that no-till techniques can provide farmers with more
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 21, 2006
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      Research:No-till leads to higher yields The latest research from the University Nebraska-Lincoln shows that no-till techniques can provide farmers with more profitable yield.
      The research, completed on the University of Nebraska Rogers Memorial Farm, about 10 miles east of Lincoln showed that over time, no-till techniques help build soil structure, resulting in higher yield and therefore more revenues.

      Conventional farming techniques, which include tilling and plowing land before planting,
      break up the natural soil structure, which provides a stronger anchor for row crop root system.

      Destroying the soil structure also eliminate farm land habitat of farm-friendly earth worms, an article published in the 2004 issue of no-till magazine stated.

      Tunnels left by earthworms help keep water runoff to a minimum, which helps preserve farm land top soil,the article stated .The tunnels also help keep the ground from becoming too compact, especially with the use of heavy farming equipment.

      There are several other advantages to no-till, said Dodge county extension educator Dave Warner .

      Farmers don’t spend as much time in the field with no-till Warner said .They don’t use as much as fuel as with conventional farming because they make fewer passes through their fields.

      Many producer find that when they go out in the field they simply plant, spray and harvest rather than spending more time in the field with a variety of other operations, he said.

      Spending less time in each field also allows farmers to effectively work more acres.

      “And once a producer gets the system in place, they’ll experience reduced weed pressure,”he continued”with a till system, they brings new weed seeds to the surface and allow them to germinate. There’s a misconception that no-till promotes more weeds. The truth is if a producer has a good herbicide in place,weed will not be an issue.”

      Over time, farms where no-till is used will experience an “increase in the organic matter content of the soil, which is a key component to soil’s richness,releasing more nutrients,”he said

      “Also, you have improved soil structure, which leads to better filtration,” he said.”producer have better root growth. with tilling, producer run their equipment
      up and down the field, compacting the soil,no-till creates better ground for crops to grow. There’s not as much resistance.”

      But the biggest benefit with no-till is a reduction in soil erosion, Warner said.

      “when producer go over and disk soil, they pulverizing the soil to where it’s like a powder, Then when there’s rain,that water runs off and takes all that powdered soil in to creeks, down to the Missouri River and eventually down to new Orleans.

      “what you’re loosing is the most valuable source on earth to grow our food supply,”he said.”It takes several years to replace one inch of topsoil. That only happens when a field stops being tilled. We’ve probably lost about 12 inches of top soil over the past 100 yrs.

      Each winter the stalks and residue left on field provide another benefit ,he said. They catch the snow, allowing for more moisture to develop as the snow melts.

      Along with that, the stalks and residues provide a safe haven for the soil because they prevent soil farm being blown away

      “There have been times in the winters when the wind blowing across Highway 30 kicks
      a steady stream of dust across the high way,making it almost impossible to see. Water
      erosion is a bigger issue,but we also have to contend with wind erosion.”

      The extension service has been promoting no-till since the early'80s,but there are still
      many farmers who refuse to convert to using the system, Warner said.

      “There are several reason all farmers don’t go to no-till he said.”One, I think people are reluctant to change. Tilling is the way they’ve always farmed .It’s how their dad and how their granddad farmed. Change is very difficult.

      “There’s also landlord pressure .A lot of producers who rent land are not allowed to use no-till. Landlords like to see clean fields that they think look good. That might not be the way a no-till fields look like. Producers are looking for yield. They don’t necessarily care if it’s the nicest looking field out there.”

      But Warner said that every year more farmers convert to no-till system and different factors will drive more farmers to it .

      “I think we’ll see a time when a larger percentage of producers are using no-till,”he said.”This year is a great example with fuel prices as a high as they are. A lot of producers are looking to learn so they can reduce their fuel cost.”

      Warner said he thinks the next factor to drive more farmers into no-till will be the cost of
      water for irrigating fields .

      “As it begins to cost a lot more to pump,water will try to find ways to help preserve moisture in their fields. No-till is the perfect solution.”
      By-Don Bowen/Tribune staff
      Re typed by-RajuTitus

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