In Praise of No-till

Inside Dakota Ag

The no-till soybeans look great on this southern Brazil farm, but the soil looks even better.

Published on: February 5, 2011

"Wow, look at those beans!,” someone exclaimed as we got off the bus at a farm near Castro, Parana in the southern Brazil.

The soybeans in this field were waist high and a deep green color. Perfectly spaced straight tire tracks from self propelled sprayer crossed the field like they were stitching on a emerald quilt,

We had come to see this farm operated by Frank Dijkstra and his family. Dijkstra is no-till pioneer in Brazil and a world recognized leader in the movement. Thirty years ago, he started no-tilling in attempt the control erosion and improve his soils.

By every measure, he has succeeded. Erosion is under control, even on slopes as steep as 6% to 8%, and soil organic matter has risen from 1.2% to 4.4% on sandy soils and from 1.8% to 6.5% on the better ground.

When we got off the bus, we should have said, “Wow, look at those soils!”