Dave Legvold and Mike Peterson farm outside of Northfield, MN. Both farmers have switched from conventional tillage programs to conservation tillage using a zone-till method, allowing fewer passes as well as nutrient savings. Using zone-till also saves soil, a key to farming land with thin topsoil....More
Dave Legvold and Mike Peterson share an implement called the Soil Warrior. The zone-tillage machine allows the farmers to prepare a seedbed and fertilize in one pass. Using a CSP contract, Legvold was able to purchase the machine outright. Even without the CSP program, Peterson says using the implement would pay for itself in five years with savings in soil, fuel, nutrients, etc....More
Farmers across the Midwest are off to an early start this planting season. Spring is typically the busiest time of the year for farmers, and when rushing to take advantage of ideal planting conditions, it can be easy to neglect simple steps for staying safe and healthy while in the field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics an average of 700 deaths can be attributed to farm work injuries each year and an additional 120,000 agricultural workers sustain disabling injuries from work-related accidents. Many of these accidents occur during the spring planting season....More
Crop yield can be improved by ensuring adequate nutrient availability. But how should you place the fertilizer and what cropping system gives the best yields? Research conducted by University of Illinois Assistant Professor of Crop Sciences Fabián Fernández, Professor of Crop Sciences Emerson Nafziger and graduate student Bhupinder Farmaha looked at how tillage, and phosphorus and potassium placement and rates, affected the distribution of soybean roots and the levels of water and nutrients in the soil....More
My passion as a news and technology junkie has helped my agricultural journalism career immensely. And one fun component of that curiosity and passion is to ask farmers what's new in order to learn their passions....More
Soil quality is the most important base layer for all farm production decisions. That includes decisions about yield goals, plant populations, fertility programs and hybrid genetics, says Clay Mitchell, a Harvard-educated corn and soybean grower, futurist and new technology guru from Buckingham, IA....More
Six years ago, brothers Tom and Jim Wagner, Primghar, IA, made a decision that changed their farming lives – and they’ve never looked back. The corn and soybean producers had shared equipment with a neighbor, using his tractor and ripper in exchange for planting his crops. When the neighbor opted for an off-farm job, he rented his land to the Wagners. He auctioned off his big tractors and tillage equipment and, as Tom and Jim weighed the possibility of taking on more land, they took a hard look at their own equipment situation....More
In the world of precision ag, two technologies are the next big thing, says Matt Darr, Iowa State University ag engineer. They aren’t newly developed technologies, but they are the next big wave in agriculture....More
A list of cover crop benefits came easily for more than 50 farmers at the Iowa Crop Advantage workshop: erosion control, weed control, improved soil organic matter, nutrient retention, better water infiltration and reduced nitrogen losses....More
Driving with a broken fuel gauge isn’t just inconvenient, it’s risky. So most logical drivers would keep the tank full for fear of running out of fuel at the most inopportune times – or better yet, fix the fuel gauge. The blind hope required to drive with a malfunctioning gauge is exactly how Nick Lammers describes most folks’ approach to moisture management....More
Herbicide-resistant marestail and waterhemp have caused Illinois grower Trent Funk to work the ground during his three-year rotation of soybeans, corn and wheat. Historically, weed control was a key reason for tillage, but that justification hasn’t existed for quite a while due to herbicide effectiveness, says University of Illinois professor of crop sciences Emerson Nafziger. However, it’s coming back, at least in some areas....More
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that the USDA has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the state of Minnesota to develop a new state program for farmers designed to increase the voluntary adoption of conservation practices that protect local rivers, streams and other waters by reducing fertilizer run-off and soil erosion....More
Many corn and soybean growers harvested record crops last fall. However, they may be facing compaction issues because of saturated soils at harvest. Combines and grain carts caused deep ruts and severe compaction issues. So what can farmers do to break up that soil and smooth out rough fields?...More
Emerson Nafziger harkens back to time spent in fields with a three-bottom moldboard plow. “When it took so long to till each acre, it really was tillage,” says the University of Illinois Extension crop-production specialist....More
Jason Zimmer’s heart sank every time he looked at the field. The west-central Minnesota farmer had rolled a quarter-section of soybeans the day after planting, in May 2010. The soil was a bit tacky, and the big roller caused the moist ground to crust, hindering emergence.
“Rolling hurt my stand bad,” he says. Stands dropped 30% on the slopes and hills – a big price to pay for harvest ease....More
Here's round two of old farming equipment Digital Editor came across at her grandparents' farm recently. From another Allis tractor to an old Gleaner Six hopper to a McCormick grain drill, there's no shortage of vintage equipment at the Johnson farm in south-central Minnesota. Do you have some old equipment in the back 40? Email us your photos and we'll post them here! Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Emerson Nafziger remembers pulling a three-bottom moldboard plow years ago. “When it takes that long to till each acre, it really is tillage,” says the University of Illinois Extension crop-production specialist....More
The practice of deep-banding fertilizer is growing in popularity as more growers turn to strip-till. However, this method may be costing growers more than it is worth. A new University of Illinois (U of I) study revealed that strip-till was superior to no-till and increased yield in soybean. However, the results showed no difference in yield between fertilizer application methods....More
The unusually wet conditions surrounding planting and harvest this year made quite an impact on soil conditions, prompting Randall Reeder, a recently retired Ohio State University Extension engineer, to warn farmers against "recreational tillage" between now and planting the 2012 crop....More
One young farmer tailors his family’s farm equipment to keep up with precision agriculture.
When J.D. Riffel finishes his Kansas State University master’s degree in agronomy next year, he plans to head back to the family farm near Stockton, KS, where he’s already testing precision-ag technology with a custom-made, variable-rate fertilizer applicator....More
Eric Rund got oddball soil-test results a few years ago from a strip-till cornfield. Some of the nutrient levels were higher than the Pesotum, IL, farmer expected.
Now near the end of a four-year soil test variability study with University of IllinoisExtension Soil ScientistFabian Fernandez, Rund hopes they’re getting closer to answers from Rund's farm and others on how best to manage soil-test variability on band-applied fields....More
This Thanksgiving Digital Editor Jen Bennett spent some time at her uncle and grandparents' farm. Walking through the back acres, looking at all the old equipment her grandpa used back in the day got her thinking: They sure don't make things like they used to. Older equipment is fun to look at, and something farmers, non-farmers and people of most ages can enjoy. Check out some of the old things on the Johnson farm, along with photos submitted by readers. Do you have old equipment around your farm site? Send us your photos! Email them to email@example.com and we'll post them to the gallery here!