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No-Till November - Give Your Farm a Rugged, Natural Look

Save time, money and improve your soil’s health by joining the farmers who observe “No-Till November.” Here in Wisconsin, we are celebrating by highlighting some of our local farmers for their no-till efforts! We want farmers to leave it be and let it grow! Consider the benefits of no-till, which is a way of growing crops or pasture from year to year with minimal soil disturbance.

No-till harvestSoil is like the skin of the farm: it’s a nourishing barrier for what grows above and beneath. But whereas a shaving razor stops at the surface of the skin, tillage rips into the soil and can inflict harm. As one NRCS Agronomist puts it, “For everything living in the soil, tillage it’s akin to an earthquake, tornado and fire happening, all at the same time.”

Why is the practice still so popular? We had to till for a while, just to grow crops. We didn’t have equipment and tools for weed control or preparation of the seed bed. But steady advances in technology since the 1970s – both in farming equipment and crop genetics – mean that tillage is no longer necessary. Repeated tillage undermines soil structure and reduces aggregate stability; it breaks down organic matter and drains carbon from the soil.

No-till (also called zero tillage or direct seeding/drilling) is a way of growing crops or pasture from year to year with minimal soil disturbance through tillage. No-till is one of the key practices of soil health management systems. The benefits of no-till grow over time and spread far beyond your farm. With no-till, farmers can improve water quality through prevented erosion. Their soil structure will remain intact, able to absorb more water and handle heavy rain. No-till keeps soil and expensive inputs, like fertilizer, on the field and out of waterways.

Still not convinced to “keep the stubble?” No-till saves time and money. Farmers will spend less time on their tractor. They’ll use less fuel. That means less wear and tear on equipment. No-till is a win-win for soil health and profitability.

Check out a few of our local farmers who are successfully implementing soil health practices, including no-till, with the help of NRCS.

Barry and Derek Cover Crops

The Proof is in the Soil: Fox Demo Farm Thrives Through Use of Cover Crops and No-Till

Read more (3.3MB pdf)

Highlighting Conservation Planning, Technical Assistance, GLRI, Demo Farms, No-Till
Jack Herricks and Michelle KomiskeyPioneers of No-Till: Farmer Fosters Land Stewardship Ethic

Read more (4.8 MB pdf)

Highlighting Conservation Planning, EQIP, CSP and No-Till

  Nettekoven family on their farm
Hard Work Pays Off: Nettekoven Farm Produces Nutrient-Rich Food, While Preserving Land for Future Generations

Read more (290 KB pdf)

Highlighting GLRI, Soil Health, Cover Crops, No-Till, EQIP and Demo Farms

Follow us on Twitter @NRCS_WI and show us your untilled field pictures! Please #KeepTheStubble