During a special month-long campaign called “No Tillage November”, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and its partners are encouraging Iowa farmers “keep the stubble” on their harvested crop fields and improve soil health.
The project is mirrored after the national cancer awareness “No Shave November” campaign that encourages people not the shave during the entire month. The campaign encourages farmers to keep tillage equipment in their machine sheds this fall and keep the crop stubble on their fields.
“No till farming is a cornerstone soil health conservation practice, which also promotes water quality while saving farmers time and money,” said state conservationist Kurt Simon. “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.
“No till is a different management tool because timeliness is very important for planting and weed control,” said no-till farmer Gene DeBruin of Mahaska County. “I really like it, though. I like knowing that there is biological activity below the ground. You dig down six inches and the earthworms are there. The worms are my tillage tool.”