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Old 04-01-2009, 10:51 PM
 
Location: Oklahoma(formerly SoCalif) Originally Mich,
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N0-Till planting is an interesting consept. I'd like to learn more about it.
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Old 04-02-2009, 07:47 AM
 
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no-ril farming was tried a lot in my area about 15-20 years ago and then abandoned.

Two of the main reasoms was the soil stayed too cold and warmed up too slow in spring if the ground wasn't tilled.
Rhe other reason was weed control. Farmers had to spend way more money on herbicides to control weeds when the ground wasn't tilled.

Another thing was manure injection.
Farmers didn't like the idea of seeing manure left on top of the ground and not tilled into the soil.

A neighbor said he did find one example when no til did work well for him. He had land coming out of CRP. He sprayed the grass /sod with RoundUP in the fall, then seeded soybeans with a no-ril drill.

He tried to do the same with corn ( corn planter) and did not have good results.

I think it (no til) works better on light,sandy soils where conserving moisture is a necessity.
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Old 04-02-2009, 09:57 AM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkfarnam View Post
N0-Till planting is an interesting concept. I'd like to learn more about it.
The One-Straw Revolution is a good book. Written by Fukuoka Masanobu.

He also wrote: The Road Back to Nature and The Natural Way Of Farming.

I attended a workshop last week which focused a bit on those methods.

There are some who try to practice it a bit.

Less energy, less intensive, less need for petroleum, ...

More understanding of what nature is trying to do, more understanding of how the plants work and what they need, ...

Overall it is much more self-sustaining. Deep tap root plants can bring minerals up from hundreds of feet deep, can work as your miners. While shallow rooted plant systems can use those minerals.



Some 'permaculture' folks are trying to incorporate these methods.
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Old 04-02-2009, 10:04 AM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marmac View Post
no-ril farming was tried a lot in my area about 15-20 years ago and then abandoned.

Two of the main reasoms was the soil stayed too cold and warmed up too slow in spring if the ground wasn't tilled.
Rhe other reason was weed control. Farmers had to spend way more money on herbicides to control weeds when the ground wasn't tilled.
Hmm, folks I see using no-till tend to be organic freaks.

Herbicides would never be allowed.

Each 'weed' is there for a reason. It found a niche, it may be trying to adjust the pH, or change the soil in some manner. It is all a part of how flora changes, from an open wound, to grasses, to succulents, to softwoods, eventually to hardwood forests



Quote:
... Farmers didn't like the idea of seeing manure left on top of the ground and not tilled into the soil.
So the problem was not only with putting poisions on the soil, but the farmers did not 'like' other parts too.

I would question how much of no-till was really trying, since it sounds like they really didn't try at all.



Quote:
... A neighbor said he did find one example when no til did work well for him. He had land coming out of CRP. He sprayed the grass /sod with RoundUP in the fall, then seeded soybeans with a no-ril drill.

He tried to do the same with corn ( corn planter) and did not have good results.

I think it (no til) works better on light,sandy soils where conserving moisture is a necessity.
sigh.
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Old 04-02-2009, 10:37 AM
 
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-" each weed is there for a reason"--

and they rob the crop of moisture and nutrients.

I have never seen a weedy field have good yields of corn.

Why do you think the "old timers" ( before herbicides) planted their corn in checked rows?

To cultivate a field both long ways and crossways to keep weeds out.

Even old timers who grew corn w/o herbicides knew weed control was crucial to getting a crop.

Have you ever grown corn, Forest ?
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Old 04-02-2009, 10:47 AM
 
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Forest, I've done a lot of corn picking in my life ( custom picking also for others)

Nothing will crimp the yield more than weeds.
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Old 04-02-2009, 10:56 AM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marmac View Post
-" each weed is there for a reason"--

and they rob the crop of moisture and nutrients.

I have never seen a weedy field have good yields of corn.

Why do you think the "old timers" ( before herbicides) planted their corn in checked rows?

To cultivate a field both long ways and crossways to keep weeds out.

Even old timers who grew corn w/o herbicides knew weed control was crucial to getting a crop.

Have you ever grown corn, Forest ?
The question was about 'No-till'.

You said it was tried, and then you explained that in truth it really was never tried in your area.



As for me; I grew up farming nut trees and raising calves on pasture up to feedlot size. Then I went into the military. Now with my pension and a piece of woodlot and I trying what I can do beneath the forest canopy.

Fruit trees, goats, sheep, hogs, chickens, fiddleheads, mushrooms, bees, and small greenhouses.

I do attend the local Organic workshops and I try to incorporate as much as I can.

I have grown corn in small lots, I have never tried to grow 100 acres of corn. Nor have I ever said that I had. I am not the person trying to mis-represent anything here.

I have read about 'no-till', I know folks who are doing no-till [for a living], and I attend some workshops where it is encouraged.

It is working for some folks.

Mis-representing the topic, by saying that it does not work, is of questionable ethics.

Mis-representing the topic by saying that you tried it, when in fact you have not tried it is likewise of questionable ethics.



Not everyone wants to put poisons on their soil and crops.

Just because someone has a question about farming without poisons, does not mean that you must force poisons of them.

Yes, we all understand now, that you prefer to farm 'food' that is not the most healthy for human consumption. We get it.

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Old 04-02-2009, 10:57 AM
 
Location: The Woods
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Long rows were used because it was more practical for horse drawn equipment (plows, etc.). Longer rows, less turning around.
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Old 04-02-2009, 12:24 PM
 
1,297 posts, read 3,157,444 times
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We tried no-till farming back in 1992 and it did not work well for us. The yields were good the first year but sank from then on to the point where it was silly to think that this would ever work. We did take what we learned, bought different equipment and went to minimal till farming which was slightly better. No more deep plowing, but rather a pass or two with a disc harrow and the rather robust planter drove the seed down into the minimally tilled soil just fine.

Today though a lot has changed...the majority being the seed they use. Some farmers near me are getting 22-23 tons to the acre with 60 day corn. Yeah you read that right. 60 DAY CORN! So yes GM Corn seed will make no-till farming possible perhaps in the future as they have seed now that has weed killer in it, so that as the plant grows, the weeds around it are killed. Talk about some nice seed huh? At the same time, manure injectors that inject the manure through the soil was a piece of equipment we did not have back in 1992 either. Things are changing and changing fast.

I agree and disagree with both Marmac and FBK on this issue. By all accounts, no-till farming in the mid-west is not just possible, its the typical way to farm. But they use a lot of herbicide to do it. One tool that does work well has been a roller that applies the herbicide via roller. As the rubber roller sweeps the grass, it wipes herbicide onto the grass so that there is no overspray like on sprayed herbicide. It seems to be a better alternative then herbicidal drift. The Rodale Institute is working on a roller that crushes the weeds before the tractor and supposedly kills the grass, but it does not work as well as herbicide that's for sure. So it is one of those things, no-till farming does work, but the people doing the majority of it, do so with herbicides and are not organic.

Ourselves, we have toyed with no-till drilling. When the price of fuel hit 4 bucks a gallon last year, instead of taking low yielding hay fields and plowing them up, tilling, removing rocks and then drilling with seed, we used herbicide to kill the darn dandelions and other grasses, then over-drilled through the sod with new seed. It worked and we got the field to grow high protein orchard grass, but if we had tilled the field and drilled it, we would have got better yields overall.

We will not be doing no-till corn farming anytime soon. I think its possible, but we have a new disc harrow that can knock down an acre in 3 minutes. The cost of fuel to till is so low now due to that harrow, and the yields are so high, that economically it is silly to invest in money in the corn planter to do no-till farming. It's about 3500 bucks per planter...not a lot, but the manure injector would cost another 30 grand.

I see us going to no-till farming in the future, but we will let the technology get to the point where the seed, the equipment and planters are proven before we do. We just have a lot on our plate, and a lot at stake for the interim.
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Old 04-02-2009, 02:37 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
31,141 posts, read 50,298,797 times
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I have no idea if 'no-till' will ever be a viable option for commercial farming.

The books written on it, tend to focus of subsistence farming without the use of heavy equipment.

The folks who I have seen, who are claiming to get it to work for them are micro-scale organic producers who sell directly to consumers. A few greenhouses using intensive methods, and a few acres [2 to 10] of cropland for no-till, and they are really depending on the greenhouses to support the Farmer's Markets.

I have bought spelt from an organic farm that only uses 'Low-impact' methods [draft animals]. They seem to be doing okay. But they are small.
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