With the environmental impact of farming practices on the national radar, strip-tillers often credit their transition to the practice — and specifically banding nutrients — as potential insulation from future restrictions for when, where and how much fertilizer can be applied.
But agricultural companies are also publicly placing more emphasis on being more ‘green’ — and not just in terms of the crops their farm customers grow.
Late last year, Monsanto announced plans to introduce a program for carbon-neutral crop production. The goal of the program will be to help reduce the company’s carbon footprint in seed production and crop protection though data sharing and ‘smarter’ farming — including adoption of conservation tillage practices and cover cropping.
According the Monsanto, the efforts could result in carbon-neutral crop production on “millions of acres of farmland.” While the company has taken its share of criticism in recent years for it’s monopolistic tendencies, its carbon-neutral initiative could spark additional interest and incentive to strip-till.
“Plowing releases unbelievable amount of carbon into the atmosphere, so if you can grow seed corn and soybeans and not turn the soil, that’s going to save a ton of carbon,” says Tekonsha, Mich., strip-tiller Ryan Groholske.
As a farmer with experience strip-tilling seed corn, Groholske sees potential for himself and others to be resources for Monsanto. This could come through either custom strip-till work or growing seed corn for the company.
However, Groholske admits he’s cautiously optimistic, and will wait and see how the program develops.
“What I’m hoping is that Monsanto is serious about this program and they’re willing to do it properly by finding farmers who know how to strip-till, and working with them,” says Tekonsha, Mich., strip-tiller Ryan Groholske. “But if they’re going to as a company tell farmers what piece of equipment to buy and how to do it, I’m not sure how well it will work.”
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