Annual zero-tillage workshop slotted for January in Minot | TSLN.com

Annual zero-tillage workshop slotted for January in Minot

The Manitoba-North Dakota Zero Tillage Farmers Association is holding its 36th annual workshop and trade show Jan. 6-8, 2014, at the Holiday Inn – Riverside in Minot. The theme for the 2014 workshop is "Unlock Your Soil's Full Potential."

Workshop presenters and farmer panels will discuss research and farm-based information relating to topics such as soil biology, soil compaction, managing wet and cold soils, zero-tilling corn and soybeans in adverse conditions, zeroing in on resistant weed management techniques, research updates and the economics of better soil health through zero-tillage.

Along with the presentations, there will be several panel and rap session discussions, an international show and tell and beer and bull sessions.

One of the featured speakers will be Barry Todd. He is a plant and weed scientist and now retired deputy minister of agriculture of Food and Rural Initiatives in Manitoba.

“Producers also will be exposed to the practical side of using cover crops in cold, wet climates, soil compaction and vertical tillage, determining the suitability of soils for specific drainage techniques and other technologies.”

Roger Ashley, NDSU Extension Service
area cropping systems specialist

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"Todd, through his wide experiences of dealing with problems from the perspective of a scientist, agricultural program administrator and farmer, along with his wry sense of humor, will help workshop participants understand the seemingly complex world of production agriculture," says Roger Ashley, North Dakota State University Extension Service area cropping systems specialist at the Dickinson Research Extension Center and adviser to the association.

Mark Jennings, farmer and former agricultural lender in Washburn, will discuss the economics of better soil health and zero-tillage. Jennings will point out that the dynamic nature of farming should foster a business structure that allows for change while improving soil health, productivity and profitability.

"Jennings feels that improving management knowledge and skills will remove the 'can't' and 'impossible' from a producer's vocabulary while providing the confidence to make the right decisions when it comes to using and conserving resources," Ashley says.

Producers have questioned if specific practices will improve soil health and productivity, as well as the bottom line. Several presenters will address those questions.

Abbey Wick, NDSU Extension Service soil health assistant professor, will discuss the components and complexities of soil health. Jon Stika, Natural Resources Conservation Service soil scientist, will discuss evaluating soil health and Kris Nichols, U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service scientist, will discuss the how and why of specific practices, as well as interpreting soil tests for biological activity.

"Producers also will be exposed to the practical side of using cover crops in cold, wet climates, soil compaction and vertical tillage, determining the suitability of soils for specific drainage techniques and other technologies,"

Ashley says.

Additional topics, speakers and registration information can be found on the association's website at http://www.mandakzerotill.org or by contacting Bonnie Staiger, association executive secretary, at 701-223-3184 or email mandak@westriv.com.

The Manitoba-North Dakota Zero Tillage Farmers Association was created by farmers to facilitate the exchange of ideas, encourage zero-till research and disseminate zero-till information.

–NDSU Ag Comm