Whether you are a crop farmer or a pasture or hayfield owner, the District’s new no-till drill will help you reduce tillage to improve soil quality, water permeability, control weeds, increase soil carbon, and reduce fuel usage. Incorporating cover crops in reduced tillage strategies on cropland can provide a weed sup-pressing mulch, add organic matter, and increase fertility.
Ongoing research in reduced tillage organic agriculture at the WSU Puyallup Research and Extension Center
has provided them the opportunity to trial numerous cover crops and reduced tillage equipment that will benefit both organic and conventional farms. The no-till drill allows cover crop seed to be planted into untilled ground where the crop was harvested in the fall. Once the cover crop is terminated in the spring using the District’s flail mower, a transplant can be planted directly into the mowed cover crop, or seed can be planted using the no-till drill. The mulch layer will provide some weed control and will keep the ground surface cooler, reducing irrigation needs.
If soil compaction is not an issue, the no-till drill will allow pasture and hayfield owners to incorporate new seed into an existing field to increase production, or ‘renovate’ with minimal equipment and herbicides. Time will be saved, as well as money for fuel and herbicide expenses and seed losses due to birds, poor seed to soil contact from improperly prepared seed beds, or from planting seeds too deep or too shallow.
Rental rates and details are being developed and will be posted on our website this spring when the equipment will be available for use. Look for classes in the spring edition of the Tahoma View on use of the no-till drill, as attendance at one of these classes will be a requirement of renting the equipment.