In this third Q&A series article, Russell McLucas, Pennsylvania No-Till Alliance board member, and Del Voight, Penn State Extension grain crop specialist, address planter and drill maintenance issues.
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.
One new product uncovered at the 2010 Farm Progress Show was a head carrier for a 45-foot grain head. When the sales rep was asked what he would do when they built a 60-foot head, he threw up his hands and said he would retire first!
Mark Jennings tried something new with no-till this year. He intercropped radishes with field peas. “The idea is that two crops together may do better than each alone,” says Jennings, of Washburn, N.D. He has no-tilled since he started farming in 1997 and has served as president of the Manitoba-North Dakota Zero Tillage Association.
Having row cleaners on a planter to push crop residue aside and create a mellow strip of soil for each row unit to place seed is a must in high-residue fields. But it’s not the attachments themselves that make the difference. It’s how you use and adjust them, say farmers who plant into lots of residue.
When it comes to planting depth, deeper is most often better.
A recent survey from Iowa State University estimates that only 15% of Illinois farmers planted a cover crop between 2000 and 2005.
Daryl Wynn is saving money on tillage — and doing it better and faster than ever at Booker, Texas, high in the northeast Panhandle right along the Oklahoma border.
Oklahoma’s grain sorghum production has increased in recent years, placing the state in the No. 3 spot behind Kansas and Texas. Although northern Oklahoma counties have enjoyed a lot of success with the crop, growth remains stagnant in the southwestern corner of the state, mostly due to cotton production and a hotter summer climate.
Indiana’s conservation partners have teamed up again. They’re rekindling the effort to increase no-till corn acres in Indiana. This time they’ve enlisted not one but two seasoned conservation veterans. Hans Kok and Dan Towery are coordinators of Indiana’s new Conservation Cropping Systems Initiative.
Remember the camera commercials at Christmas that show packages with the tag “Open me first”? The tag on this story could be “Read me before you plant.”