No-Till Continues to Grow
The program paired farmers with crop consultants. The one-on-one effort was designed to speed the transition, in part, through communications. The pairing ensured the producer had someone to answer their questions, assist in setting up and adjusting planters and drills and simply being supportive.
"The program demonstrated the importance of not just technical support, but social support, when a farmer is making a substantial change to practices," said Scanlon. "The social part of it includes having other farmers to talk to. That's something retailers can help with, creating an event or forum where producers can talk together. Even if the retailer isn't experienced with no-till, they can provide a service to their customers by bringing in experienced no-tillers. CTIC can assist in organizing informational meetings."*
"What we have found is that farmers really want to learn from other farmers who have tried and failed or tried and succeeded," said Watts. "One of the big things you hear about the National No-Tillage Conference is that farmers feel they learn a great deal between sessions, just talking to other farmers."
Another even more natural role of retailers is also vital to successful no-till transitions, noted Scanlon. "Having the herbicides and fertilizer products no-tillers need is important, as is having the information on how to build a productive system of conservation practices," she said. "There are a lot of variables that go into successful no-till. Having a trusted advisor who can help the farmer understand those variables is invaluable."
Informing growers on available tools is one reason Syngenta and other suppliers sponsor the National No-Tillage Conference. The tools these companies provide have made a big difference in the potential success available with no-till, noted Craig Abell, crop specialist, Syngenta.
"Hybrids with early vigor for early planting and good germination in cooler soils and robust seed care packages like our Avicta Complete Corn and CruiserMaxx Corn brands that protect seedlings from early season insects, disease and nematodes have all made a difference," said Abell. "Of course weed management is critical to no-till, and the evolution of weed species has emphasized the importance of a residual as a foundation and alternative modes of action to take the selection process off of glyphosate."
Abell pointed to the importance of retailers keeping their customers informed about both the benefits of no-till and the tools that can take the edge off of transitioning to it. "There is an opportunity there for educational meetings on how best to use these tools," he said. "With weeds like Palmer amaranth and tall waterhemp developing glyphosate tolerance, the need for overlapping residual and timely application needs to be emphasized. Those four-inch tall weeds need to be targeted. Without good weed control, you don't have no-till."