Following unusually wet planting conditions this spring, more farmers are exploring the merits of no-till, high-residue production practices.
In an effort to introduce more farmers to these techniques, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, in partnership with the National Resource Conservation Service and the USDA National Soil Dynamics Laboratory, will sponsor a crop tour June 21 in Roeten, located in northeastern Coffee County.
The tour will begin at 9 a.m. at Kenneth Sanders Farm, located just east of County Roads 110 and 105 crossroads. It will conclude at 2 p.m.
In addition to the Sanders Farm, tour stops will include the Sammy Carter and Jarrod Johnston farms.
Richard Petcher, a regional Extension agent and a tour organizer, says the tour was prompted in part by the unusually heavy rainfall this spring.
“With all the heavy rainfall in March and April, we've seen a lot of soil erosion and planting difficulties, especially in conventionally-tilled corn,” Petcher says.
“No-till farmers, on the other hand, have had a much easier time planting despite the heavy rainfall, and this has prompted some of them to give no-till farming a second look.”
No-till production practices, he says, also have enabled farmers to save on production costs, by reducing the amount of time spent preparing fields for planting and requiring fewer trips across the field for cultivating and spraying.
Speakers will include producers Kenneth Sanders and Sammy Carter, who will offer their own perspectives on farming with no-till.
Other speakers will include Dennis Delaney, an Extension agronomist, who will discuss conservation-tillage management practices; and Chris Dillard, with Auburn University's Department of Agronomy and Soils, who will demonstrate how precision farming techniques can be adapted to no-till practices.
In addition, Dale Monks, an Extension crop expert, will provide an update on this year's cotton crop. Rob Duffield, an agronomist with Pioneer Corn, will discuss the corn crop, followed by Carl Sanders, president of the Alabama Peanut Producers Association, who will provide a peanut crop update.
Ben Moore, a conservationist with the National Resources Conservation Service, will discuss the new Conservation Security Program.
Experts from the Soil Dynamics lab will be on hand to present a demonstration of equipment associated with no-tillage practices.
For more details, contact the Extension System's Coffee County Office at 1-334-894-5596.