2013 Kentucky No-till Hero Award
The Kentucky Conservation Partnership recognizes Brown Farms as 2013 No-Till Hero award recipients. This award honors distinguished efforts to improve soil quality through the adoption of no-till agriculture. Thank you for your determination to improve the environmental outcomes on your farm and your outstanding commitment to protect our natural resources.
Chad Brown of Greensburg Kentucky understands the importance of cover crops and no-till on his farm. Brown Farms produce 400 acres of corn, 400 acres of beans, 250 acres of wheat, and 20 acres of tobacco. In 2009, after much research, Chad incorporated no-till into his tobacco production and every year since he has increased the no-till tobacco acres. Last year he raised 55 acres of tobacco, all of which was no-till.
Because of the success with the no-till tobacco, Brown Farms is now 100% no-till with all their crops. Chad has been able to reduce labor inputs tremendously by not having to cultivate the ground. This is especially true with conventional tobacco, where multiple tillage passes are required. Chad stated that before he felt like he was destroying the ground when preparing for tobacco, now it fits into the system with the no-till corn, beans, and wheat.
Chad also incorporates cover crops into the crop production to improve the soil’s health. The cover crop provides residue for increased moisture holding capacity, reduces compaction, increases water infiltration, and stores nutrients that can be utilized by crops. This has been a learning process. When Chad first started no-till farming, he said that he was spraying wheat down too early in growth stage and now he lets go longer giving him more residue. Chad also changed to a liquid nitrogen application which allows him to incorporate nitrogen directly into the soil next to the root system. He also purchased a no-till transplanter that he has modified with row cleaners to help clear a path for the plants in the heavy residue.
Last year Chad attended a soil health class in Somerset Kentucky and heard Ray Archuleta (Conservation Agronomist with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service) speak on how no-till and cover crops greatly improve the overall health of the soil. Since then Chad has planted a soil health mix of crimson clover, diakon radishes, and Austrian winter pea. The idea behind having a healthy soil is having diversity of plants in the system. Over time with diverse cover crops, no-till, and crop rotation we can increase the organic matter in the soil. Chad is pleased to have reached his goal of an all no-till operation that has benefited him as the producer and the environment for many years to come.