Best practices in agriculture are only as good as they fit your operation. Testing and determining what works for you will lead to your own best practices. However, learning from the experiences of other farmers can give you a head start.
Conventional tillage, strip and no-till: each option has supporters and benefits. Ian McDonald, applied research co-ordinator for the field crops unit of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), recently wrote an article detailing a tillage variation: bio-strip till.
This method, used by Lawrence Hogan and Steve Howard – two brothers who farm in Lucknow, Ont. – involves direct-planting two different cover crop mixes in bands across the width of a modified drill. The two farmers follow a strict corn-soybeans-winter wheat rotation. They plant the cover crop strips between wheat harvest and corn planting. The crop mix used in half the strips will die with the winter, and every other strip contains crops that will provide soil cover over the winter and in the spring.
This is part of the brothers’ goal of maximizing soil health and optimizing economic and environmental benefits. |READ MORE