Converting a traditional planter to adapt to no-tilled fields isn't as costly and difficult as some might think. The Iowa Learning Farm is hosting a planter clinic at Iowa Lakes Community College in Emmetsburg on March 4, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. to demonstrate how to convert your current planter to a no-till planter.
The clinic will include a presentation by local NRCS staff about the benefits of no-till and residue management, a demonstration by Mark Hanna, Iowa State University Extension ag engineer, on how to convert to a no-till planter and a panel discussion with farmers who practice no-till. The clinic will be held in the campus auditorium and the planter demonstration will be in the shop building.
Planter is most important piece of machinery
The planter is the key for no-tillage as it is likely the only machinery that moves the soil for seed placement, says Hanna. Seed depth and seed-to-soil contact are keys to emergence when planting through residue. "The benefits of no-till are numerous," he adds. "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 panel at this clinic will address some of these issues and how these farmers overcame the barriers to no-till."
The planter clinic is open to the public and there is no charge. Registration begins at 9:30. Participants are welcome to stay for lunch, courtesy of the Iowa Learning Farm, and network with other attendees. For information about the clinic, call liaison Erin Harpenau at 515-509-4768 or e-mail [email protected].
Iowa Learning Farm is a partnership between the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, ISU Extension, Leopold Center for Sustainable Ag, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources; in cooperation with Conservation Districts of Iowa and Iowa Farm Bureau.