Converting a traditional corn or soybean planter for use in no-tilled fields isn't as expensive or as difficult to do as some people think it is. The Iowa Learning Farm is hosting a planter clinic at Kirkwood Community College at Cedar Rapids, on Tuesday, March 30 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Purpose of the clinic is to demonstrate how to adapt a planter for use in no-till conditions.
The clinic will include a demonstration by Iowa State University Extension agricultural engineer Mark Hanna on how to convert to a conventional planter to a no-till planter. There will also be a presentation by ISU Extension ag engineer Greg Brenneman about strip-tillage and a panel discussion of farmers who practice no-till or strip-till. The clinic will be held at 6301 Kirkwood Blvd. SW at the Iowa Equestrian Center warm-up arena, located on the south side of campus.
Planter is the key piece of machinery to make no-till work
The planter is the key for no-tillage as it is likely the only machinery that moves the soil for seed placement. Seed depth and seed-to-soil contact are keys to emergence when planting through residue, says Hanna. The benefits of no-till are numerous: equipment needs are minimal, labor costs are reduced, and there is less soil compaction when field passes are eliminated. Also organic matter builds in the soil over time. The farmer panelists at this clinic will address some of these issues and relate their experiences transitioning to no-till or strip till.
The planter clinic is open to the public and there is no charge for the event. Registration begins at 1:00 p.m. For more information about the clinic, contact farm conservation liaison Erin Van Waus at 515-509-4768 or send her an e-mail at [email protected]
The Iowa Learning Farm is a partnership between the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa State University Extension, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at ISU, Iowa Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Iowa Department of Natural Resources in cooperation with Conservation Districts of Iowa and the Iowa Farm Bureau.