LREC holds third annual Soil Health Tour and Tillage Expo

The NDSU Langdon Research  Extension Center held their third annual Soil Health Tour and Tillage Expo on Wednesday, September 28 with over 50 area farmers and industry experts in attendance.

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Posted on 10/8/16

By Melissa Anderson

The Soil Health Tour and Tillage Expo provided updates indoors and outdoors to the farmers, landowners, industry and other stakeholders.

“This year’s focus was on comparing conventional tillage practices versus improved reduced-till/minimum-till practices that cause the least soil disturbance and improve soil health while achieving the tillage objectives,” LREC Director Randy Mehlhoff said.

Tour participants were also updated regarding the clubroot disease of canola which can become a major issue in the canola growing region of northeastern North Dakota and the second year results of the Langdon REC’s Groundwater Management Project.

“The basic required building block of producing crops is the soil. This workshop shares practices and ideas backed up by university research that farmers can employ on their farm to promote healthy soils not only for them but for future generations,” Mehlhoff stated.

Indoor talks included Energy Savings through reduced-tillage by Brenyn Hardy of Langdon NRCS, Clubroot Management by Dr. Venkat Chapara of Langdon REC, Different Tillage Systems and Their Impact on Soil Physical Properties by Dr. Aaron Daigh of NDSU Fargo and Soil Health Systems in Action by Hal Weiser of Jamestown NRCS. Participants were also taken out to the Langdon REC Groundwater Management Project and Cover Crop sites. Naeem Kalwar of LREC updated the audience on “What Should They Do First on Sodic Soils; Tile or Apply the Amendments?” and Craig Brumbaugh of Langdon NRCS discussed different cover crop mixes and rooting structures that farmers could use to imrove soil heath.

“Farmers receive information at the workshop that is unbiased. The NDSU Extension Service and the NDSU Agricultural Experiment Station’s mission is to deliver sound unbiased research and information to farmers so they can make the best decisions possible on their farms. These workshops allow Extension and Research to achieve that mission,” Mehlhoff said.

The event was sponsored by the NDSU Langdon REC, Cavalier County Soil Conservation District supervisors and staff, Cavalier County Extension Service and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Langdon.

The tillage demonstrations showed off some of the newest equipment that farmers can get to assist them in their fields. The benefits of seeing the equipment in action on similar fields to their own is a plus for attending the event.

“To be successful in farming, farmers are required to invest huge amounts of money on equipment that keeps them current with the latest technology that allows them to successfully plant a diverse mix of crops in the ground in a timely manner with maximum return on investment in order to support their families and livelihood,” Mehlhoff said.

“It helps them to achieve best management practices. The equipment and no-till seeders also provide an opportunity to achieve their tillage and planting objectives along with improving soil health,” Mehlhoff added.

High Plains Equipment brought their 60’ wide chisel plow as a conventional tillage example, 34’ wide Barracuda and a 26’ wide 875 Turbo Ripper for compacted soils. Kline Agriculture brought their 40’ wide Speed Tiller. Seed Master brought their no-till plot drill. Seed Hawk brought their no-till plot drill. Langdon Implement  showcased their 60’ wide no-till air seeder and Summers Manufacturing brought their 26’ wide variable-rate tillage equipment.

The biggest challenge when planning an event like this is choosing a date that works for area farmers,” Mehlhoff stated, ”Due to the challenges this year with non-stop rain events which significantly delayed harvest we were not able to achieve a larger turnout.”

The soil health tour committee will meet soon to review this year’s event and begin making plans for the fourth annual soil health tour with the expectation that the event can reach more farmers next year.

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