“Keep Up the Progressive Effort” on Cover Crops and No-Till, Says Dobberstein

John Dobberstein is managing editor of No-Till Farmer and the Conservation Tillage Guide.

Today, in the magazine’s E-Tip newsletter, he tipped his hat to those no-till and cover crop innovators for helping to change the face of agriculture…perhaps globally!

While some farmers have no-tilled and planted cover crops for decades, the practice has only taken serious root in the past eight to 10 years. The Oregon Ryegrass Commission has played a strategic role in that effort. With long time cooperation between Oregon annual ryegrass seed growers and University Extension agents like Mike Plumer and crop consultants like Dan Towery, a decade of trials attracted a lot of followers. Quickly, innovative farmers showed their neighbors, and conservation tillage was launched.

The Ryegrass Commission also sponsored early conferences on no-till and cover crop management, because they wanted to keep errors at a minimum. The last thing one wants is a bad experience to spoil the potential for growth.

So, here’s Dobberstein’s comments about the growth of no-till and cover crops, and his hearty encouragement to keep up the good effort. Click here for the full newsletter:

In the last month, while listening to leaders in both the private sector and federal government, no-till continues to be talked about on a national and global scale as a way to ease environmental and food-production challenges. Here’s what I’ve seen:

• Early in June, BASF held its Agricultural Solutions Media Summit (check out our Tweets) and tackled the issue of sustainability in food systems. A new research tool unveiled by the company, AgBalance, showed the use of conservation tillage had increased by 13% in Iowa between 2000 and 2010, and that a variety of best-management practices and hybrid improvements boosted the overall sustainability of corn production in the state by 40% during that time.

• Just yesterday, the USDA announced another $8.4 million in funding for voluntary farming-related projects that will address water-quality issues in several states bordering the Mississippi River. No-till, precision technology and cover crops will be crucial in this effort.

“Cover crops are one of the most exciting things that we’re doing,” said NRCS chief Dave White. “When I was growing up, it was winter wheat or cereal rye that was discussed. But now we’re getting different mixes out there with many different species.”

 

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