Modern ag, increased productivity, wildlife can coexist
Precision Agriculture Meets No-Till
One of the ways farming is becoming more sustainable without sacrifice in productivity is with the use of low-inputs and precision agriculture techniques. Craig Hiemstra, Vice President of Marketing and Sales for Environmental Tillage Systems, Inc., points out that environmental tillage systems are growing in popularity among farmers, a sign that more are embracing sustainable farming practices, even on large-scale operations.
Environmental Tillage Systems, Inc. (ETS) manufactures conservation tillage and nutrient management equipment designed to improve soil productivity and farm profitability. Since its beginnings in 2004 on a farm in southeastern Minnesota, the company has grown to reach customers in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
One example of sustainable equipment is the SoilWarrior, a flagship piece of equipment Hiemstra says acts like primary and secondary tillage implements all rolled into one.
“This one machine provides all the environmental benefits of strip tillage,” he explains. “The SoilWarrior helps save soil, labor, moisture and fuel while optimizing fertilizer efficiency.”
The SoilWarrior is designed to be a shallow tillage system, creating an aerated seedbed that is warm, dry and inviting for quick germination and early plant growth. Hiemstra says the SoilWarrior environmental tillage equipment also exhibits unprecedented soil management.
The SoilWarrior can also be used to band nutrients and create a fertile zone for strong early growth and sustained development. It minimizes compaction, supports conservation of soil and water resources, and saves both time and money, according to the manufacturer.
He credits development of the SoilWarrior with invention of the zone tillage concept, which keeps soil where it belongs – in the field.
“It does this by maintaining the root structure between each tilled zone and incorporating residue into the growing zone.”
High input costs have generated more interest in SoilWarrior because of the savings it offers by combining fertilizer placement with fall or spring tillage. Farmers are finding that it saves fuel and labor, while improving yield potential and extending the planting window.
In addition, SoilWarrior is appealing to farmers who have been working with local precision farming specialists and having zone tillage custom-applied for a contracted fee per acre. Of course, the new environmental tillage systems are also appealing to farmers who are good soil conservationists and desire to pass along a farm with good soil health to the next generation.
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