Farmers in Iowa have increased no-till acres to more than 7 million in 2012, but Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey is encouraging farmers to continue their efforts with no-till and strip-till practices.
“We are in the midst of spring planting and continue to see significant growth in no-till and strip-till adoption across the state. New technologies and tools continue to provide additional options for farmers using or considering reduced or no tillage systems. There are a wide variety of resources available to help farmers successfully transition their tillage system to help protect water quality and maintain crop production,” Northey said.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, in conjunction with Iowa Learning Farms and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, have put together information to help farmers. The fact-sheet has information on planter settings, fertilizer considerations, weed control and other considerations to help farmers successfully use no-till and strip-till in their operation. The information can be found at www.cleanwateriowa.org/nostrip-till.
The department also suggests growers check with the manufacturer of the planter for more help calibrating for efficient use of your specific planter and its attachments.
“With tight margins and variable spring weather impacting usual field work, no-till or strip-till may be an option for farmers interested in reducing costs and at the same time reducing surface runoff, erosion, and improving soil health. Adding cover crops in the fall adds an additional layer of protection from what Mother Nature dishes out, particularly reducing nitrogen losses,” Northey said.