Posted 1/13/2021 08:38 (#8747480 - in reply to #8746516) Subject: RE: Don’t think no-till works
Having no-tilled continuously since 1983 I would have to concur with the articles premise that there is a huge difference between long term no-till and those who simply don't work the soil one year and call it no-till.
I've often described to others whom have questioned whether they could make the transition to no-till the same concept.
The soil profile during the transition phase loses its artificial tilth created by tillage. It is during this phase that often discourages the newly converted "no-tiller" . This is especially true if the weather in that period is adverse, usually too dry of weather in my area causes this.
This is where cover crops can make a huge difference in the transition. The drawback to covers that early is your often dealing with a person whom is still trying to convince themselves not to go hook to the disk or field cultivator. There can be problems with and learning curves with covers also. That's a potential problem for most newly converted to no-tilling.
Once you "weather" the storm of those transition years (usually between years 3-5 in my area) your on the path to benefiting from long term no-till.
My opinion is that no-till will not get you all the way to a tilthy soil on its own. My experience is that the addition of covers play a vital role in the whole system.
As for the decrease in N use I haven't tested it. Anecdotally I'm raising more corn on the same units of N than ever before. The reason why is debatable.