On Aug. 17, 70 people participated in a manure management and strip tillage field day near Milaca.

The event was hosted by the Mille Lacs Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) and Used Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). 

Topics ranged from honing in on manure as a resource, to soil health and strip-tillage.

Paul Ash, a Mille Lacs County farmer, said of the manure spreader calibration demonstration “that was an easy way to calibrate a manure spreader, I can do that.”

Mike Waldensian, area resource soil scientist with NRCS, demonstrated soil infiltration rates. Two soil samples of the same soil type were used to demonstrate water infiltration, one from a conventionally tilled crop field and the other from a field that has been cropped using no-till techniques for 40 years.

The soil sample from the no-till field had water movement flowing faster due to open pore space and better soil structure, signs of a healthier soil profile.   

Dan Martens, Benton County University of Minnesota Extension, brought two producers, Roy Schneider and Mike Gans who talked about their experiences with strip tillage. They discussed weed control, nutrient application, manure application and why they do “strip tillage.”

Gans said, “Strip tillage is the main tool I use to alleviate soil compaction issues on my farm, which improves the root systems and yields of the corn and soybeans.”
Schneider said, “Time, reducing input cost, increasing profitability and maintaining yields were the reasons why I switched to strip tillage.”

He also mentioned that he did not feel he was losing much nutrient content from manure being placed onto his fields because the crop residues tie up most of the nitrogen from the manure that was still on the surface for the following year’s crop.

For more information about topics discussed at this field day please contact Shannon Carpenter, NRCS District Conservationist, Mille Lacs County, at (320) 983-2154 or Shannon.carpenter@mo.used.gov.