You can learn a lot about reducing tillage in 35 years. That’s the combined number of years Horst Bohner and Rob Templeman have spent leading Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) soybean research and extension efforts.
On the first episode of the 2024 season of RealAgriculture’s Soybean School, OMAFRA’s current and former soybean specialists gather at the Templeman farm near Staffa, Ont., to look at the evolution of no-till and residue management in soybeans.
Both Bohner, provincial soybean specialist since 2001, and Templeman say there are opportunities to do no-till while managing an ever-increasing mountain of corn. They also agree that often a little tillage can help deliver top soybean yields.
In the video, Templeman shares the success he continues to have planting twin-row soybeans in true no-till conditions. The trick, he says, is to fine-tune the planter to manage corn residue, plant soys between the corn rows and steer clear of those root balls.
The experts also discuss how Templeman employs a vertical tillage implement in wheat stubble to work in straw while planting cover crop oats. A shallow pass — never below seeding depth — also works in broadcast fertilizer before corn. There’s also a second shallow tillage pass in spring prior to planting soybeans after the wheat.
In an ideal world, Templeman says, growers wouldn’t do any tillage but reality dictates that he and his farming neighbours often do a little to optimize their cropping systems.
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