There are a lot of interesting facts about healthy soil. These graphics provide a glimpse of just some of those secrets including cover crops, organic matter and microorganisms. The Natural Resources Conservation Service has compiled these infographics as a part of its Unlock the Secrets of the Soil campaign. Find out more about soil secrets from NRCS.
A gentle overnight rain turned into a science experiment for Darin Williams, Waverly, Kan., when he collected these samples of drainage water from nearby ditch waterways. The samples come from a ¾-mile radius of each other and have the same soil types....More
The residue cover in no-till fields is essential when it comes to conserving water. The residue protects the soil surface, reducing crusting and soil moisture evaporation. When it comes to no-till planting, the key is to minimize the soil and residue disturbance....More
With the potential for wet soils in some areas of the country this spring, compaction may be an issue during planting. Sidewall compaction in wet soils can be a problem, especially if the crop is “mudded-in” and a dry spell occurs after planting....More
Soil compaction is invisible, but its effects are clear to see: cloddy soil, delayed crop emergence, restricted root growth, stunted plants, low water infiltration, poor nutrient uptake and lost yield....More
As would be expected with increasing fuel costs, average 2013 custom rates for farm work have a1so increased, compared to 2012 custom rates. Most custom rates for farm work in 2013 are 3-5% above the rates for similar operations in 2012, with an average increase of about 4%....More
Evidence has shown that strip-till systems combine many of the best aspects of no-till and conventional tillage systems. The advantages of strip-till are generally most pronounced for corn following corn, where strip-till can help improve seedbed uniformity and reduce plant-to-plant variability compared to no-till....More
The American Soybean Association (ASA) presented Gail Fuller, Emporia, Kan., with the 2013 National Conservation Legacy Award on March 1, 2013, at the ASA Awards Banquet, held during the Commodity Classic convention and trade show in Kissimmee, Fla. ...More
I am cutting straight to the facts today. We have a couple big reports coming up, and I wanted to throw my hat in the ring and call a few shots to help you get in the game and better your operation....More
One pass seeds cover crops, sidedresses the corn crop and sprays weeds, at least in State College, Pa. Penn State’s cover crop experimental interseeder potentially increases profits by $100/acre in corn yields, reduced N requirements and glyphosate applications costs.
Cold winter temperatures and increased precipitation have helped loosen soils enough that spring tillage might not be necessary in Indiana farm fields, says Tony Vyn, a Purdue Extension agronomist. Multiple freeze-thaw cycles, plus numerous wetting and drying cycles brought on by the arrival of enough snow and rain have made no-till an even more viable and attractive option for corn and soybean growers than it was last spring....More
As with most farm business decisions, very few escape without some type of tradeoff, be it labor, time or money. Our cover story may challenge your beliefs if you're sold on 30-in. row soybeans, because you lose yield (range from 2.9 to 4.5 bu./acre) compared to 15-in. – according to a three-year, six-state university trial....More
Except for the Pacific Northwest and state of Louisiana, much of the area west of the Mississippi River is still experiencing severe to exceptional drought, causing real concern that last year's drought will extend into the 2013 growing season. Snow can certainly help return moisture to the soils in some of these areas, but a lot needs to fall to make an impact; 10 in. of snow only equals about an inch of rain....More
Unless you've been under a rock, you've likely seen - or at the very least, heard about - the Dodge Ram advertisement heralding farmers during Sunday night's Super Bowl.
It featured a powerful and nostalgic reading of the poem, "So God Made a Farmer," as delivered by Paul Harvey to the 1978 FFA Convention....More
For Jason Sheehan, cutting input costs was the main impetus for moving to variable-rate fertilizer application and N sidedressing. Reducing the potential for any off-site movement was a close second....More
When it became apparent that the dry spell many Ohio growers experienced last year would become the worst drought in 50 years, David Brandt wasn't worried about how well corn and soybeans on his 1,150-acre farm would fare. The Carroll, Ohio, farmer instead relied upon a natural form of insurance that left the soils in his fields protected against the devastating effects of the record heat and drought that decimated many farmers nationwide in 2012....More
The American Soybean Association (ASA) is pleased to announce the regional winners of the 2013 Conservation Legacy Awards program: Midwest Region Winner: Gail Fuller from Emporia, Kan.; Northeast Region Winner: Roger Wenning from Greensburg, Ind.; South Region Winner: Jeremy Jack from Belzoni, Miss....More
It's all about a Think Different approach with the valuable resource that some farmers and investors are paying upwards of $15,000/acre. It's about the need to rebuild and improve the natural biological processes in your soil, so you and your landlord can gain greater efficiency and return on investment....More
As a part of the Unlock the Secrets of the Soil campaign, USDA NRCS has put together some soil health fact sheets. From no-till to cover crops, NRCS is giving you basics and other tips to help you get the most from your soil....More
The Natural Resources Conservation Service has launched a new campaign: Unlock the Secrets in the Soil. “As world population and food production demands rise, keeping our soil healthy and productive is of paramount importance. So much so that we believe improving the health of our nation’s soil is one of the most important endeavors of our time,” says NRCS....More
Water, either too much or too little, may be the single most important factor in determining crop yields when other production factors such as genetics, seeding rate, planting date, fertility, weed, insect and disease control, etc. are held constant. For example, 200-bu. corn will need about 22 in. of plant available water....More
Global changes in 2050 may come more quickly and urgently and expand exponentially. That's the assessment of Scott Aughenbaugh, fellow, Seven Revolutions Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, D.C. Agriculture could play a pivotal role within what he calls the seven drivers of change, he says....More
No two shallow vertical tillage tools are the same, says Curt Weisenbeck, Agronomic Consulting, Durand, Wis. “Each tool behaves differently in different soils and terrain.” For example, independently mounted blades are better for rocky fields or irregular topography. Different types of blades – straight, concave, smooth or fluted – determine how much soil is disturbed....More