USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is encouraging Iowa farmers to “keep the stubble” on their harvested crop fields and improve soil health during No-Till November.
First launched in 2017, the NRCS project is mirrored after the national cancer awareness No Shave November campaign that encourages people not to shave during the entire month. The NRCS campaign encourages farmers to keep tillage equipment in their machine sheds this fall and keep the crop stubble on their fields. The campaign has reached more than 1.5 million people through Twitter and local media since 2017.
“No-till farming is a cornerstone soil health conservation practice, which also promotes water quality while saving farmers time and money,” says Iowa NRCS State Conservationist Jon Hubbert. “One of the first soil health principles is ‘do not disturb’. This campaign is a fun way to remind farmers about the important relationship between tillage and soil health.”
Improving soil health increases soil biological activity, which provides erosion control, nutrient benefits, and can simulate tillage.
Delaware County no-till farmer Wayne Brunsman says well-managed soil is full of life. “This is a major consideration for producers who are farming with healthy soils in mind,” he says. “These farmers understand that tillage is disruptive to soil microbes and destructive to the soil system.”