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jackinok
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2012 5:14 am    Post subject: meeting Reply to specific post Reply with quote

went to a interesting meeting yesterday. dog and pony show put on by the USDA,NRCS,FSA,etc.had a interesting display setup that held trays of soil of the same depth of maybe two and a half or three inches .In them they had the top layer of ground supposedly from different fields in the local area that had grown different crops,and used different tillage practices underneath the containers,to catch water,that both went through or into the subsoil,and caught runnoff. on top of this they sprayed equaly the equivelent on two inches of rain fall.
1st tray was soil that had been cropped with no till corn with the stubble still on it.very little if any runnoff,and most of the water that didnt get soaked up by the dry stubble ran through to be caught by the supposed subsoil. it took a fairly long time for stubble to soak up but most of the water wound up underneath.
2nd tray was native grass,that supposedly had never been plowed.it actually did best in my opinion since water went through faster with very little runnoff,but was only slightly better than the no till.
3rd was bare ground supposedly full tilled and left fallow.nearly all water ran off,taking a lot of soil with it,and after the same amount of rain,they turned the tray over.water had soaked in about a inch and the bottom of the tray was absolutly dry.their reasoning being that the top sealed off as it got wet and water simply ran off the top.
fourth tray was native grass pasture that had been planted in full conventional tilled ground.again there was slightly more runnoff than the no till and never tilled trays but only slightly more,and the water that went through was close to the never tilled ground.
their obvious conclusion was all in favor of no till of course since thats their latest and greatest thing, but the results were sort of skewed that way in my opinion since they didnt have tilled and no till crops of the same type side by side .but overall a pretty imprssive display of how water works through the soil in various ways.watch for it if you get a chance, its pretty cool. As I say i didnt agree with all their theories and things but a good meeting none the less,and worth attending if they have one near you.
 
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jackinok
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2012 5:34 am    Post subject: Re: meeting Reply to specific post Reply with quote

would also be interesting to know how or if the results changed with different soil types.
 
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paul
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2012 10:56 am    Post subject: Re: meeting Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I'd love to use notill, sure would save time, fuel, and $$$$.

In my very wet, very vcold, very clay soil, it's a no-go.

Water doesn't run through this yellow clay so much, it's such a slow perc that we can't have septic leach fields any more. Pretty much 100% mound systems.

In spring I normally would have 40 inches of snow melting and running off the frozen ground, and trying to work up the ground and plant corn before the deep frost is totally out. That needs black ground the low sun can heat up and rough ground (fall plowed) so it can dry off as it heats up.

So, that's a neat example, but wouldn't mean much to me in my climate, my soil.

Would like it if it worked.

Maybe some day strip till will get good enough to handle my soil/climate conditions. They are pretty close, folks 30-40 miles away in a tad sandier stuff are making strip work for them.

--->Paul
 
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RGMartin
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2012 12:21 pm    Post subject: Re: meeting Reply to specific post Reply with quote

In my situation, NO-till is less than ideal. It does not agree with the soil conditions/types in my area.

The field behind my house has been in No-till for over 10 years by a neighbor. Compaction is the issue, our soils seem to get tighter the more years they are No-tilled. I conventionally tilled half of it this year, Moldboard, disc, plant. The other half I no-tilled, with a few strips on one edge that I just hit with a heavy disc. In this dry year the The conventionally worked ground has greatly out performed the No-till, with the disc only ground somewhere in the middle.

The ground I plowed was hard as rock in some places, especially so on the headlands.
 
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Walt(EIA)
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2012 2:57 pm    Post subject: Re: meeting Reply to specific post Reply with quote

That makes for an interesting display, but 2 to 3 inches of soil in a tray is a poor representation of real life conditions imho. For example, in a real prairie soil situation, there would be little to no soil loss in the water due to high organic matter.
 
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jackinok
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2012 3:43 pm    Post subject: Re: meeting Reply to specific post Reply with quote

i agree,not a real life representation,in most cases,but interesting . i honestly dont know how they could dig up a true representative sample to begin with,without skewing the results.but its interesting to watch.they call it a rainfall simulator if you get a chance to see it.
 
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rufus80
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2012 3:55 pm    Post subject: Re: meeting Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Same situation here, cash rented the farm for 10 years, strictly no till with a field cultivator ran over it once an awhile. The water just layed in the field after heavy rains. When I took the farm back 5 years ago I went out a did deep tillage with a Brillion curved shank subsoiler. Those compaction spots were so bad the subsoiler just skipped on the surface. Long story short after couple years of good deep tillage there is no more ponding in the field. Also my conventional beans and corn look good even during this drought.
 
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Animal
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2012 4:52 pm    Post subject: Re: meeting Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Hi Jack, I have seen this demo a dozen times in the last couple of years, like you it really caught my attention. If you have time do what I did, do your own demo on your ground, now that is interesting. It does not always work the way they claim it supposed to but it gives you a good idea of what the water is doing on your soils. When I started doing this I was still working the ground and for no til I used soil from my hay ground.
 
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jddriver
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2012 5:35 pm    Post subject: Re: meeting Reply to specific post Reply with quote

no till is like marriage you are either committed or you are not!I have been no till for 22 years and will not go back.I do not farm when it is wet period.I promise I love all the farmers that farm upstream from with conventional tillage.I get the very best dirt they have to give.Conventional tillage is good for the fuel salesman and the equipment dealers
 
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jackinok
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2012 9:00 am    Post subject: Re: meeting Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I definitly have nothing against no till,if it works for you its a very good thing. But i do not believe its the answer in all situations.For instance,before their demonstration they went on for ten minutes about the advantages of no till in leaving organic material in the soil. Had all kinds of graphs,explanations,pictures etc showing how it helped your soil,and i do believe this. Now after their demonstration,they had a short question and answer session. One fellow asked what the ogranics were in the soils they had on display. ALL the fully tilled soils that they had,tested higher for organics,with the never tilled soil being the highest.When i asked if this indicated i could turn under a couple of green manure cover crops(in an attempt to give them an out since they were just shot out of the saddle),BEFORE switching to notill,they said ephatically NO.That the typical loss of production when switching from a full till situation to no till for the first few crops could not be offset,but it eventually was made up in increased yields. When i pointed out that organic gardeners,farmers all over the world were able to increase the fertility of their feilds by doing this for generations,they simply repied that you either had to go fully no till,right off with no bank of nutrients,or it simply wouldnt work.When another young man asked for a explanation they simply cut that portion of the meeting off with no repy. In other words they were simply there to push no till,and it may have been in actual fact the best system for that particular district. But without answers to basic questions such as this,its hard to justify the cost of equipment to simply switch to no till,especialy in the middle of a drought,with crop prices as they are. In other words i think while the demonstration was impressive,the presentation lacked any convincing substance.As a recommendation of no till they suggested we tour a field a couple of blocks from the meeting hall planted in soybeans after wheat. While the soybeans did look good especialy considering the drought were in,the field was about 2/3 overran with broomweed,and other weeds,while the field on the opposite side of the road ,full tilled,had not weed one. And the beans looked almost as good. Again the presentation was not as it could have been. Like Ive said here many times if i were a young man starting out and buying equipment to start farming i would go no till from the start. But i think they failed to sell their idea to very many of the older farmers there in the 60-80 year old range simply because of their handling of the demonstration. The guys handling it simply pushed the idea of organics in the soil too far and when pressed for numbers they lost their audience, because they couldnt produce the numbers. They should have stayed with the point of their demonstration.Which was the water conservation aspect of farming. they should have stressed the moisture lost in the act of tilling instead of pushing the aspect of the water saved is 100% related to the organic count of your soil,when the samples they had higher numbers in the tilled soil. A simple demonstration showing the amount of bare soil exposed by tilling,or ridging your ground between crops,resulting in greater evaporation losses would have been far more effective. In the end it was a good demonstration,but one quite honestly with no point to a farmer/rancher facing literally NO rainfall. You have a hard time saving what you dont get, but you can save what you have. This should have been their focus . Let me point out i was there as observer only,this is not the district where i farmed for years, i was simply there at the request of a native american tribe pushing the advantages of no till on native land to evaluate the presentation.(and to get a excellent free meal!LOL) their presentation was classic textbook,and the folks presenting it knew their books. but like always they work for the gov,so they have to satisfy the requirements of their jobs. Which i understand perfectly. Their presentation on invasive/noxious weeds for instance begins with the caveat that the gov only recognizes weeds that have been introduced to the area as invasive or noxious,and that native species are not in its scope. When pressed for control info on broomweed ,blackberry for instance they were lost,since it was outside the scope of their studies. like i say if you get the chance was the demo.its interesting to see,but when you take it as definitive proof on the subject you lose something.all results are subject to interpitation.
 
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MFPoor
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 7:17 am    Post subject: Re: meeting Reply to specific post Reply with quote

100% no till since the late '80's. You couldn't pay me to go back to the old days. Less fuel, less time, far better yields, I've all but forgot what a rain rut looks like. Same tractors we were farming with 25 years ago, running day and night back then, we plant 4 times the acreage in half the time. Soil structure is vastly improved. It's been a win/win situation for me.

The drought has hit this area hard this summer. Neighbor is all conventional tillage. His crops look horrible. Mine look fairly good all facts considered. He's combined one field and so have I. His yields were in the 45 bu/ac range. Mine was 112. Both fields planted within 3 days of each other. Yesterday, he was in the field with a deep ripper. It looked like the dust bowl days. I was inside watching the little league world series, enjoying the fact my ground wasn't blowing away in the wind.
 
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Notillnomorefarmers
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 9:47 am    Post subject: Re: meeting Reply to specific post Reply with quote

No-till is part of the reason that farmers are becoming non-existent these days. I'm not arguing whether no-till is better or worse, but like you said you farm 4 times the ground in half the time. So you could do 8 times the ground if you worked as many hours as when you were younger. No-till has ushered in the era of 5000 acre farms... Once again, I am not bashing it from a technical standpoint, although I chisel and am happy with the results. However there is no denying that Roundup Ready and no-till are the 2 biggest things that are reducing the number of farmers. Some are getting out because all of a sudden their neighbor can now easily farm their 400 acres in 2 weeks and they rent out for the easy money. Some are pushed out because the BTO's now have the ability to do 8 times the ground and by God they will come hell or high water.
 
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ihman73
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 7:49 pm    Post subject: Re: meeting Reply to specific post Reply with quote

We have been primarily no till for almost 20 years. There are reasons and conditions for tillage, but we have enough slope on most of our ground sheet erosion is a huge problem for worked ground. Our yields are comparable to neighbors worked ground and our costs are lower. I am now experimenting with cover crops to further rehab depleted organic matter from decades of moldboard plowing. Our soil structure is much improved since we started no tilling. We don't run when it's wet and compaction is a nonissue in most places as we don't carry 300 bu. on the combine or run around all over with our cart loaded. It may not work for everyone but it works for us.
 
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MF Poor
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 7:25 pm    Post subject: Re: meeting Reply to specific post Reply with quote

That's twisted logic if I've ever heard it. No till has kept a lot of farmers IN the business. No tilling keeps us profitable in bad years and let us thrive in good years. No one succeeds by standing still.

Times change and when they do, you either change with them, or you sit around and wish the old days would come back again. They won't.
 
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Notillnomorefarmers
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 5:55 pm    Post subject: Re: meeting Reply to specific post Reply with quote

If you don't understand my logic then its a waste of time trying to explain. You've embraced an idea that majorly reduces the need for farmers, and in your mind this preserves the American farmer? Twisted logic yourself.
 
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