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Digging for differences in tillage practices

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The On-Farm Network® is digging deeper to find differences among tillage practices.

Scott Nelson, On-Farm Network director, says replicated trials show no yield differences among tillage practices. However, some Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) farmer-members report a four- to five-bushel advantage when practicing no-till.

“We’d like to understand that better – Why there’s a difference between what we see in the replicated trials and what some farmers are experiencing,” Nelson said. “We’re doing a larger scale study where we’re doing on-farm comparisons of tilled soybeans and non-tilled soybeans to understand if this input cost is necessary and under what conditions.”

The Iowa Soybean Association examined soybean yield comparisons of no-till versus conventional till on five sites in 2018.

The On-Farm Network hopes to expand on this study by surveying 10 sites in 2019. Nelson says farmers looking to participate in this study only need to have a “willingness to learn.”

“Our trials are farmer-friendly, but they (farmers) have to be willing to follow our protocol. GPS equipped combines are nice to have for our trials. They (farmers) can contact ISA Research, if they’re interested in conducting a trial and our agronomists will get back with them and help them set it up,” Nelson said.

On-Farm Network staff hopes a more in-depth analysis will help farmers enhance profitability in a sustainable way.

In this down economy, every input needs to be looked at for how profitable it is in your system. Tillage is something that certainly should be looked at hard this year,” Nelson said.

More information on the differences between no-till versus conventional till can be found here.