A great many farmers have started to take a hard look at reducing the amount of tillage used during the annual crop production cycle. The recent increases in diesel fuel prices along with the always increasing cost of farm machinery, tillage equipment and labor, have prompted renewed interest in farming practices that fall under the broad category of “conservation-tillage.”

The term “conservation-tillage” was initially thought of as tillage practices that conserve soil by reducing the potential for wind and water erosion. The practice, however, also greatly reduces fuel and labor costs. In recent years, farmers and their landlords have come to realize that a great many more farming resources can be conserved through a properly designed conservation-tillage program. The importance of conserving soil moisture and reducing fuel and labor costs has been a key to economic survival for farmers.

Some farmers have replaced tillage trips across their fields by using an environmentally friendly chemical fallow program.

Now that diesel fuel has experienced as much as a two-fold increase per gallon in the past 36 months, it has made a chemical fallow even more feasible than before.

Growers will have an excellent opportunity to learn more about a variety of approaches to the conservation-tillage issue during the Fifth Annual National Conservation Tillage Cotton and Rice Conference that will be conducted in Tunica, Miss., on Jan. 24-25, 2002. This two-day conference, to be held at the Grand Casino Convention Center, Tunica, will feature productive interaction between farmers and researchers on topics related to efficient, cost controlling crop production.

This year's conference will feature 32 farmers from five states who have had success in implementing a variety of conservation-tillage practices on their farms where cotton, rice, corn, and soybeans are produced. This conference will have presentations by 39 researchers and Extension Agents representing seven states who have conducted large-scale trials that address a variety of conservation tillage problems.

The conference will offer presentations on 73 program topics. Farmers who attend the conference will have as many as 18 presentations to choose from during each hour. In addition, two keynote general session speakers will entertain while offering their views on the agriculture situation. There will be a number of presentations on precision agriculture, corn and soybean production, soil compaction and irrigation systems designed for use with conservation-tillage.

Farmers from Mississippi, Texas, Alabama, Louisiana, and Tennessee will be able to receive their state pesticide recertification credits, and certified crop consultants will earn CEUs during the two-day conference.

For more general and registration information about the Fifth Annual National Conservation Tillage Cotton and Rice Conference, call Robin Moll at 573-547-7212.