Keep the stubble11/22/2017 | Soil Health
By Allie Arp, ISA research communications specialist; and Lindsey Foss, ISA public relations manager
During a special month-long campaign called “No Tillage November,” the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and its partners encourage Iowa farmers to keep tillage equipment parked in their machine sheds this fall.
The project is mirrored after “No Shave November,” which encourages people to retire their razors for the month to spark conversation and raise awareness of men’s cancers. In a similar vein, the NRCS campaign encourages farmers to “keep the stubble” on their harvested crop fields to increase biological activity in the soil and boost underground nutrients.
“Think of tillage like an earthquake — it’s a disruption to the soil that shatters the complex of biological communities beneath the surface,” said Tom Oswald, a corn and soybean farmer from Cleghorn, Iowa. “This disruption can increase erosion and the potential for nutrients to leak out of sync with the crop needs.”
Not only does reduced tillage protect Iowa’s rich soils (we’re home to 10 percent of the world’s best farm ground), it also provides wildlife habitat and saves farmers time and money.
“Fuel savings on a no-till operation are immediate, but there are many long-term benefits that accrue over time,” said Theo Gunther, resource management specialist for the Iowa Soybean Association. “In some areas of Iowa, the long-term benefits of no-till can also have a positive economic impact.”
The continued benefits Gunther refers to include improved soil structure and water infiltration; two benefits that reduce erosion, allow for better root development and increase overall soil health.
For all these reasons, the NRCS encourages the ag community to hang a “do not disturb” sign on their fields this fall. Follow along with #KeepTheStubble and #DoNotDisturb on Twitter to see how farmers are practicing conservation throughout the month.
Additional Recommended Articles for this topic:
For media inquiries, please contact Lindsey Foss, Public Relations Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or Aaron Putze, ISA Communications Director at email@example.com
For permission to republish articles or to request high-res photos contact Aaron Putze at firstname.lastname@example.org. Iowa Soybean Association | 1255 SW Prairie Trail Pkwy | Ankeny | IA | 50023 | US
©2017 Iowa Soybean Association On-Farm Network®. All rights reserved. On-Farm Network® is a registered trademark of the Iowa Soybean Association, Ankeny, IA.Portions of some On-Farm Network trials are paid for in total or in part by the soybean checkoff.