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DVD has tips on no-till planting

Members of the Iowa Learning Farm team have created a DVD of pointers for adjusting a planter for no-till farming systems. The “Converting Your Planter for No-till Operation” DVD contains instructions for getting optimum results from your planter in a no-till system. It is available from the Iowa Learning Farm for free.

Iowa State University Extension ag engineer Mark Hanna is featured offering his expertise on how to accomplish three key things in a no-till system: planting seed at uniform depth, closing the furrow so the seed is in proper contact with soil to start germination and maintaining uniform seed spacing.

He covers leveling the planter frame, down pressure on depth gauge wheels, adjustments of seed openers and closing systems, and use of attachments such as row cleaners and fertilizer injectors.

“In no-till field situations, the planter is the key to successful no-till,” states Hanna. “It is the only time you have to move the soil to get the seed established. So treating the planter with respect and paying attention to some finer adjustments can really have big dividends.”

Key Points

• Iowa Learning Farm offers DVD, which has tips for no-till planting.

• Give your planter some respect and adjustment, and it’ll pay dividends.

• DVD is free by request, but you can also view this video online at YouTube.

In a no-till system, the soil is not disturbed before planting, except for perhaps injecting fertilizer. A coulter or disk seed furrower opens a narrow strip for planting. Other tillage is eliminated entirely and residue from the previous crop year remains on the soil’s surface.

No-till has many benefits including improved soil productivity, increased organic matter, and improved water infiltration. It conserves energy by reducing passes across the field, and improves soil tilth and soil organic matter. It can reduce the capital costs associated with equipment used in conventional tillage.

The planter DVD is available free by request. It can also be seen on YouTube. To request the DVD, e-mail the Iowa Learning Farm at, and include a mailing address; or write to Iowa Learning Farm, 2101 Agronomy Hall, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011. For more information about the Iowa Learning Farm, visit the Web site at

Iowa Learning Farm is a partnership between the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, ISU Extension, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture and other agencies.

This article published in the March, 2010 edition of WALLACES FARMER.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2010.