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Need opinion: No-till and reduced tillage

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mp.freelance

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I'm doing an article on no-till and reduced tillage operations. Do any of you use these systems? Why? How has it helped? What are the drawbacks?
 

Bill

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mp.freelance said:
I'm doing an article on no-till and reduced tillage operations. Do any of you use these systems? Why? How has it helped? What are the drawbacks?
I don't expect you will get a lot of answers to these questions on this site but I will see if I can help.

We have practiced minimum tillage for years and done a bit of zero direct seeding. With direct seeding more acres can be covered with the same equipment but it also means a pre-seeding burn with glyphosate. Far less hours on tactors and less fuel is used. The biggest advantage is moisture conservation in dry years and soil tilth or organic matter has increased.

Drawbacks can be rougher field surface for spraying, baling straw etc. and waiting for the soil to warm up in a cool damp spring. Pros outway the cons.
 

Karl

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I've done a little farm work myself, I liked the no-till farming we did. The moisture conservation was really great. It was better than putting terras's in and tilling. I liked being in the tractor less so I had more time for the cows. I dont know if you raise corn and put cattle out on stalks but I have heard some people complain the the cattle compact the soil but I have'nt seen this problem with our cattle when we put cattle out on stalks. They dont compact the soil any more than a tractor does.
 

Cal

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The only mechanical disturbance our fields get is from the air drills. If the choice was given to quit farming or go back to conventional tillage, I think the farmground would get planted back to grass. Our rainfall has been down the last few years, but the fertilizer rec. have been reducing, and the straw seems to deteriorate more rapidly, weed pressure has also been substantially reduced. There's been a good deal written on increased earthworm populations as well from no-till. Worth looking into.
 
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One thing with no-till is that when you make the decision to go with it you have to stick with it for awhile- thru usually a couple of mediocre or bad years- because the benefits don't show up the first few years...It takes a few years to get the soil back and the weed problem eliminated...
 

Manitoba_Rancher

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There have been quite a few guys who have switched to no till here in the last 10 years but most are going back to tillage now because there land was simply burning out. They were pushing chemical and fertilizer to the top two inces of earth and it was simply burning out. There fields started to look like huge alkalie flats. We have always practiced modern tillage two times in the fall and once in the spring. We have been able to cut back on herbicide costs and fertilizer costs yet still able to grow good yield producing crops. There are two places that promote no-till the Fertilizer comapanies, and the Chemical companies!!
 

Manitoba_Rancher

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Oldtimer said:
One thing with no-till is that when you make the decision to go with it you have to stick with it for awhile- thru usually a couple of mediocre or bad years- because the benefits don't show up the first few years...It takes a few years to get the soil back and the weed problem eliminated...[/quo


OT- I think you better take that back about weed control. From what Ive seen no-till helps the weeds (quackgrass, and kochia) really get in there and take hold. Can tell your a horse farmer.... :roll:
 
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Manitoba_Rancher said:
Oldtimer said:
One thing with no-till is that when you make the decision to go with it you have to stick with it for awhile- thru usually a couple of mediocre or bad years- because the benefits don't show up the first few years...It takes a few years to get the soil back and the weed problem eliminated...[/quo


OT- I think you better take that back about weed control. From what Ive seen no-till helps the weeds (quackgrass, and kochia) really get in there and take hold. Can tell your a horse farmer.... :roll:

Actually we found the opposite...With about the same amount of chemical use- After a few years when the ground wasn't tilled and disturbed, we weren't constantly bringing up the weed seeds that can lay there for years- and the amount of weeds decreased.....

I'll admit to not being much of a farmer- but most around here have greatly improved yields with no-till.......
 

Manitoba_Rancher

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Oldtimer said:
Manitoba_Rancher said:
Oldtimer said:
One thing with no-till is that when you make the decision to go with it you have to stick with it for awhile- thru usually a couple of mediocre or bad years- because the benefits don't show up the first few years...It takes a few years to get the soil back and the weed problem eliminated...[/quo


OT- I think you better take that back about weed control. From what Ive seen no-till helps the weeds (quackgrass, and kochia) really get in there and take hold. Can tell your a horse farmer.... :roll:

Actually we found the opposite...With about the same amount of chemical use- After a few years when the ground wasn't tilled and disturbed, we weren't constantly bringing up the weed seeds that can lay there for years- and the amount of weeds decreased.....

I'll admit to not being much of a farmer- but most around here have greatly improved yields with no-till.......


Ot- Complete opposoite up here. But then we have real heavy clay land up here not sand!
 
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Anonymous

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Manitoba_Rancher said:
Oldtimer said:
Manitoba_Rancher said:
Actually we found the opposite...With about the same amount of chemical use- After a few years when the ground wasn't tilled and disturbed, we weren't constantly bringing up the weed seeds that can lay there for years- and the amount of weeds decreased.....

I'll admit to not being much of a farmer- but most around here have greatly improved yields with no-till.......


Ot- Complete opposoite up here. But then we have real heavy clay land up here not sand!

Could be it- I have used it in the lighter sandy (gravelly) soil...We have heavy gumbo on the bottom, but only have hay on that.....
 

mn

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We have no-tilled soybeans into cornstalk's but did not have the yield as good as did the 30" rows. It sure was easy to do, but with soybean seed at 30.00 per 50lbs it was 25.00 more per acre than row beans for seed.
 

jigs

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no till has many pros and cons.
we are primarily notill and there is nothing better than planting corn into standing bean stubble. it is just the easiest cropping system around. even our flood irrigation is ridge tilled. one field has been planted in the same rows for 5 years, never worked the ground.....but this is some very nice dirt, I would not do it on all my land.

erosion is a problem on some notill, but you have to take the good with the bad....

biggest draw back??? Monsanto is right there loving everyone of us who notills.....buy more roundup!!!
 

WB

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The advantages of no-till are many. Conserved moisture, increased organic matter, less fuel used, increased yields, better water infiltration, reduces labor and less weed pressure to name a few.

We have been no-tilling for about 8 years and it is amazing to see the improvements every year.

It works on all soil types in this area, North central S.D.

We planted some trees a couple of years ago on a peice of ground that had not been tilled for 7 years and behind the tree planter it was like a roto-tiller from all the earthworms doing their thing. It is a farming practice that was tailor made for our area and must be seen to be appreciated.
 

Denny

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jigs said:
no till has many pros and cons.
we are primarily notill and there is nothing better than planting corn into standing bean stubble. it is just the easiest cropping system around. even our flood irrigation is ridge tilled. one field has been planted in the same rows for 5 years, never worked the ground.....but this is some very nice dirt, I would not do it on all my land.

erosion is a problem on some notill, but you have to take the good with the bad....

biggest draw back??? Monsanto is right there loving everyone of us who notills.....buy more roundup!!!

Yea but roundup is pretty cheap compared to other spray's.
 
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Anonymous

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Denny said:
jigs said:
no till has many pros and cons.
we are primarily notill and there is nothing better than planting corn into standing bean stubble. it is just the easiest cropping system around. even our flood irrigation is ridge tilled. one field has been planted in the same rows for 5 years, never worked the ground.....but this is some very nice dirt, I would not do it on all my land.

erosion is a problem on some notill, but you have to take the good with the bad....

biggest draw back??? Monsanto is right there loving everyone of us who notills.....buy more roundup!!!

Yea but roundup is pretty cheap compared to other spray's.

Have you seen the price on some of the Roundup ready seed? Some of that new alfalfa should be priced by the ounce instead of the pound...
 

katrina

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We do mostly no till. all though the corn doesn't grow quite as well as turning the soil when culivating. In wheat we have pretty much eliminated our weeds so that we can combine without having to windrow it first. It has been so dry here that keeping the moiture in the ground was the number one thing.
In areas where water stands or runs off, Roscoe takes a ripper and loosens up the soil so that when it does rain it won't run or stand in areas killing the crops that are planted. But it really doesn't turn any soil. When we are in the field with heavy grain carts and such, we try and not drive in the same place to many times. It packs the ground making it hard to plant the next time. In time the ground does get pretty hard, so minimal tilling is needed in our experiance...
 

Cowpuncher

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We rent our farm ground out since we aren't dirt farmers. There has been some that try no-till in the area with limited success.

I guess if I were considering no-till for myself, I would find out what the best farmers in the area are doing. If they no-till, talk to them/ If they don't , talk to them.

Most everyone who is still farming is a pretty smart operator. All of the really dumb guys and poor farmers are pretty much gone.
 

Jason

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No till has definately shown some positive results in many areas, but the chemical use has been a concern.

Round-up just lowered their pre seed price to $2.99 an acre, they are seeing farmers starting to back off the chemicals, it just doesn't pencil.

Most areas see 10-20 years of intense fertilizer/chemical applications then they need more and more and see fewer results.

The best bottom line might be from a less intensive method, less costs less yields but a better return per dollar spent.

Too much tillage breaks up soil structure and can kill some beneficial organisims.

An interesting website to check out as to living soil is soilfoodweb.com they have pictures of hyphae and nemotodes and other important soil "bugs".

I have settled on a minimum tillage, one pass before seeding. Partly because of direct drills being too expensive and partly because grass weeds take hold in many no till systems and need more chemical to control.
 

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