"No-till is a growing trend in Plains cropping systems, and we hope to help educate farmers about its place on Kansas farms," said Doug Palen, Glen Elder, a no-till farmer and chairman of No-Till on the Plains Inc. (NTOP).

"One way NTOP is doing that is to encourage people to join us on our fifth annual South Dakota bus tour, Aug. 6 to 8. Over an intense three-day trip, we will get a close look at four different no-till operations, tour Ward Laboratories, Kearney, NE, and interact with Dwayne Beck, as he showcases his no-till and crop rotation work, at the Dakota Lakes Research Farms, near Pierre, SD."

"The tour leaves Salina, KS, early Aug. 6 and will return late Aug. 8. Due to limited seating, the first 40 people to send payment of $180 to NTOP will be accommodated. This has been quite popular with farmers across the state, so we expect to fill up quickly," according to Tim Christian, McPherson, NTOP coordinator.

"We have planned an exceptionally diverse and interesting set of tour stops for folks currently using no-till or those just interested in checking out their options," said Christian. "The first stop includes a personal tour by Dr. Ray Ward of Ward Laboratories. Ward has extensive technical knowledge of soils and how they react under no-till systems. He does a significant amount of soil testing for no-tillers across the Plains region. Ward will be traveling with the group after touring the soil testing facility he founded.

"The tour group will make stops near Presho, Gettysburg and White Lake, in South Dakota, to get a first hand look at seasoned no-till farms with a variety of crops, rotations and equipment. Interestingly, there are many similarities to Kansas soils and growing conditions, even considering some of the climatic conditions," continued Christian. "Of course, Dr. Beck will share the latest he has learned from the extensive plot work he is involved in on crops planted under ultra-low soil disturbance on irrigated and dryland fields. His use of a variety of crops including cover crops provides no-tillers with flexibility in weed control and rotations."

The fee covers transportation and lodging, which is double-occupancy. Tour sponsors--Monsanto, Syngenta, and BASF--will provide some meals. For more information about the tour or where to send payment, contact the Extension, Natural Resources Conservation Service of conservation district office, or NTOP, at 888-330-5142. a person also may want to check out the South Dakota tour details on the NTOP website, www.notill.org.

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