“No-till, The Time is Right” Conference

Joel DeJong, Field Specialist-Crops, Northwest Area

Problem Statement:

Iowa lags many of the other states in the corn belt in the number of acres under no-till production. Soybean research has shown that tillage is not a factor in yield potential. The opportunity to focus on reducing tillage might be right because fuel prices have increased, and reduced tillage reduces that cost.

Programmatic Response:

NW Iowa Extension staff Joel DeJong, Terry Janssen, Al Grigg and Don Avis  met and decided that we should develop a conference to focus on this topic for NW Iowa. Cooperating with NRCS offices in NW Iowa was a key for developing an effective conference. Two ISU speakers were recruited as keynoters, and six NW Iowa no-tillers comprised two panels which shared information with the attendees. The original date for early March was snowed out, and the first available replacement date for this conference was March 31, which most would consider too late in the year, since planting is just around the corner at that time.

Attendance was about 175 for this event more than we hoped, particularly since we had to reschedule to such a late date. A little over 140 of these attendees were crop producers, the rest were staff at ISUE, NRCS, and consulting agronomists.

A survey with two purposes was sent to participants in January of 2007 to see what impact this conference had on their planting practices in 2006, and to see what issues should be a focus in the next conference planned for 2007. Sixty-four surveys were returned. Of the 64, 55 did no-till plant at least some acres in 2006. 75% of respondents no-till planted soybeans in 2006, 16 of them had never no-till planted soybeans before. Thirty-two producers planted additional no-till soybean acres in 2006, sixteen had not tried no-till soybeans before. Over 7,000 additional no-till soybean acres were planted in 2006 by survey participants, averaging an increase of just less than 220 acres per person who noted increased acres.

Thirty-four of those who returned surveys indicated that they no-till planted corn in 2006. Thirteen tried it for the first time. Twenty increased acres of no-till corn in 2006. Over 2,500 additional no-till corn acres were planted by these producers in 2006, with an average increase of almost 150 acres each. Total no-till acres reported by the 55 participants was 29,240 acres, or about 530 acres each.

Some of the examples of benefits noticed from no-till included time savings, less erosion, moisture savings, reduction of fuel costs, reduce time needs, improved soil tilth, increased stress tolerance, good emergence, and others. Respondents also identified several issues they would like to learn more about, including better seed placement management, utilizing manure in no-till, corn on corn no-till, and several additional items. These issues will be the focus of the next meeting on no-till to be held in March of 2007.

100 - Corn and Soybean Production and Protection


Page last updated: February 9, 2007
Page maintained by Linda Schultz, lschultz@iastate.edu