Tradition and cost among reasons farmers are reluctant to reduce tillage
An extension water resources specialist points to two aspects of reduced tillage that most farmers get hung up on.
Jodi DeJong-Hughes with the University of Minnesota says the first is tradition.
“Their dad, their grandpa has been doing this for years and years, and it’s worked for them. And it has (worked), but we’ve lost a lot of soil. When you see those grey skies on windy days, that’s your clay blowing away. And it can literally go thousands of miles.”
She tells Brownfield attitudes about tillage are starting to change, especially as younger farmers learn more about soil and different ways to manage it.
The other hesitation DeJong-Hughes encounters most frequently has to do with the cost.
“So if you want a planter that can get through a lot of residue, then you need trash whippers on there. And there are certain things you just need to have.”
But she’s quick to point out the savings from fewer passes and no longer needing to pull a disc ripper over a lot of acres.
DeJong-Hughes says Minnesota Extension will be highlighting the benefits of less tillage during its 2020 Soil Health Expo in Grant County September 9th.