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No-Till and Residue Management Helps Improve Water Quality Concerns

Web image: Andy Milleville standing beside new farm equipment that allows him to perform no-till plantings on heavy soils. Click image for full screen view
Andy Milleville standing beside new farm
equipment that allows him to perform no-till
plantings on heavy soils

Full screen view

Niagara County, New York

Andy Milleville, and business partner Don Walck, both have a long family history of using conventional tillage methods in Niagara County. “The ground above the Niagara Escarpment is known for its high clay content and cool soils” says Andy, “we have always used conventional tillage methods, it dries up the soil faster and helps us to get on the fields sooner”. Andy had thought however he might be able to use no-till with soybeans and small grains.

Andy began researching new and used equipment on the market prior to purchasing a John Deere 1990. Andy said he had seen a lot of used equipment out on the market but nothing that quite met his requirements and wanted to make sure he purchased the right equipment to use in the heavier soils and match the size of existing tractor before making the transition to a no-till system.

Andy and Don had heard about NRCS’s, Environmental Quality Incentives Program and successfully applied for funding for Residue Management in 2009. The program required them to use their new no-till soybean and small grain drill on the same ground for three consecutive years. “This was a bit of a challenge at first” said Andy, “because it forced us to use the drill on the same ground for three years”. Looking back he is glad about the program requirement because it helped him to get through the no-till learning curve and see the benefits to the soil over time on the same ground. He has also noticed a big savings in fuel usage. Andy said he is still trying to master no-till on some of his heavier clay ground. He recently purchased a no-till corn planter last year and has incorporated no-till into his full crop rotation sequence.

With offices in nearly every county in the United States, NRCS works with landowners and communities to improve our soil, water, air, plants, wildlife, and energy use. If you are interested in how you can protect natural resources on your farm or forestland, please contact your local NRCS office.

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