Strip-tillers often speak of their fields’ ability to absorb the impact of a hard rain, without seeing precious topsoil or applied nutrients wash away.
But just how are the fertilizer savings and reduced soil erosion being measured and managed?
Recent research by University of Minnesota regional extension educator Jodi DeJong-Hughes is putting numbers behind the benefits of keeping soil and nutrients in the field where it belongs. Through comparative tillage research, she has identified several contributing factors — and the economic consequences — of soil and nutrient runoff.
One question the research asks is how much fertility is lost with wind erosion? Analysis by DeJong-Hughes and her fellow extension researchers revealed a range in accumulation of 2.6 to 32.6 tons of soil in one acre of ditch, where the average nutrient content of the soil was more than 100 pounds combined of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
“At 2014 fertilizer rates, that is a loss of almost $55.00 into the ditch,” DeJong-Hughes says. “This does not take into account the soil and nutrients that were blown further away with the clay, which is often at least ten times more fertile than what ends up in the ditch.”
During a general session at the 2018 National Strip-Tillage Conference, July 26-27 in Iowa City, Iowa, DeJong-Hughes will detail her recent research on quantifying the value of conservation tillage techniques as erosion-reducing tactics, including cover crops, crop selection and tillage depth.
The 5th annual National Strip-Tillage Conference will be held at the Marriott Coralville Hotel & Conference Center and feature 2 days of strip-till education through an array of thought-provoking general sessions, strategy-packed strip-till classrooms and highly collaborative strip-till roundtable discussions.
A $25.00 Early Bird Registration discount is available through May 30, and attendees who register their farm and family members receive additional savings. For more information and to register for the conference, visit striptillconference.com.
Title sponsors making the learning and networking opportunities possible for strip-tillers include AgroLiquid, Copperhead Ag, Dawn Equipment Co., Environmental Tillage Systems, Ingersoll Tillage Group, Kuhn Krause, Montag Mfg., Schlagel Manufacturing, Thurston Mfg. (Blu-Jet), Topcon Agriculture, Vulcan Equipment and Yetter Mfg.