NRCS: Colorado Farmers Encouraged to Keep the Stubble During No-Till November
Denver, CO: The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is encouraging Colorado farmers to “keep the stubble” on their harvested crop fields and improve soil health during No-Till November.
First launched in 2017, the NRCS project is mirrored after the national cancer awareness No Shave November campaign that encourages people not to shave during the entire month. The NRCS campaign encourages farmers to keep tillage equipment in their machine sheds this fall and keep the crop stubble on their fields. The campaign has reached more than 1.5 million people through Twitter and local media since 2017.
“No-till farming is a cornerstone soil health conservation practice, which also promotes water quality while saving farmers time and money,” said Acting NRCS State Conservationist Randy Randall. “One of the first soil health principles is ‘do not disturb’. This campaign is a fun way to remind farmers about the important relationship between tillage and soil health.”
Improving soil health increases soil biological activity, which provides erosion control, nutrient benefits, and can simulate tillage.
“When we first moved back out here, when this field was still conventionally tilled, we had a three-inch rain, and it took all the soil. Just took it down the field. We ended up with some pretty good soil at the bottom of the field, but that was about it. It was pretty bad,” said Dale Parker, dryland farmer in Sedgwick, Colorado.
Rotational grazing, no-till, and grazing mixes that include a variety of species have made a big impact in his operation. “The soil is 100 times better than probably what it was 10 years ago…It’s also been easier in a way, because I’m not out here tilling and tilling and tilling.”