I spent the day in research presentations this morning and field presentations this afternoon. I did soil tests, seeded cover crop trials, measured plant stands per acre and carbon dioxide emissions from corn plants.
For most of the day, I heard polite data and suggestions for possible farming techniques. To be honest, I almost fell asleep a couple of times. There was a distinct lack of passion in the room.
Then came Dr. Dwayne Beck from the Dakota Lakes Research Center near Pierre, SD. His passionate and no-nonsense presentation was inspiring! He wasn't afraid to speak his mind, rather than hide behind a bar graph. And I quote, "We need to stop screwing around with conservation tillage, that's an oxymoron. There is no such think as conservation tillage. You can't manage an ecosystem that's been tilled. It's a catastrophic event!" Ahhhh, refreshing!
Whether you agree or disagree, you have to admire his moxie and his passion.
He has done some amazing work with zero-till and cover crops. His research farm hasn't been tilled in 22 years, they haven't used insecticide in 14 years and have many fields that do not use herbicides.
There has been lots of discussion and sharing of numbers (oh the numbers!) but precious little discussion on actual practice. I love people who walk their talk. It's very easy to say, "The projections say blah, blah, blah." When you don't actually have to put any seed in the ground, when your livelihood doesn't doesn't depend on your guess-timation. But those who 'quit screwing around and do it' have my unending respect.
Go forth, quit screwing around and do it!!