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With harvest season winding down, you’re no doubt making an important decision for your working land. Will you hook up the plow, or is this the year you’ll park it for good? If you’d like to try no-till, use these 5 tips to go from no-till curious to no-till farmer.

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There is no crime in plagiarizing Mother Nature. That is, in essence, what farmers are doing when they mimic nature and interseed cover crops into established cornfields to suppress weeds, impact pests and beneficial insect communities, said Michael Bredeson, a doctoral student with the Ecdysis Foundation and South Dakota State University.

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Gabe Brown understands firsthand the struggles farmers face today.

Brown and his wife, Shelly, started a conventional small grains operation in 1991. In 1994, Gabe switched to a zero-till concept then lost all or nearly all his crops from 1995-98. Three years from hail and one year from drought. Even with that he knew he was on the right path.

By not tilling and planting cover crops following the hailstorms, he had ensured that the soil was covered, protected from wind and water erosion. Those same cover crops also provided feed for livestock and the residue helped to inhibit weed growth.

As he gained knowledge and applied it to his operation, his soil was healthier, absorbed and retained moisture and made the operation more profitable. A farmer has to have a net profit to stay in business, Brown said. He will be a keynote speaker at the Soil Health U and Trade Show, Jan. 23 to 24, 2019, at the Tony’s Pizza Event Center in Salina, Kansas.