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Virginia no-till conferences set for Feb. 6-8


   

Combine in corn field In a no-till farming system, crop residue is left on the field in order to increase the amount of organic matter, influencing nutrient- and water-holding capacity in the soil, and helping to decrease erosion.


BLACKSBURG, Va., Jan. 27, 2012 – Farmers will receive hands-on, how-to information in nearly every aspect of conservation tillage at three No-Till Alliance winter conferences on Feb. 6, 7, and 8.

The conferences, hosted by Virginia Cooperative Extension, the Virginia No-Till Alliance, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service, will take place at three locations in Virginia:

  • Monday, Feb. 6, in Rocky Mount, at The Franklin Center for Advanced Learning and Enterprise, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., free admission;
  • Tuesday, Feb. 7, in Harrisonburg, at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., $10 admission; and
  • Wednesday, Feb. 8, in Colonial Heights, at the Keystone Tractor and Truck Museum, 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., $10 admission.

The $10 fee to attend the Harrisonburg and Colonial Heights events, payable at the door, includes a catered lunch, refreshments, and proceedings from the presentations.

The workshops will focus on the environmental, financial, and educational benefits of no-till practices.

“Adopting no-till crop production practices will reduce the loss of sediments and nutrients,” said Wade Thomason, Extension grains specialist and associate professor of crop and soil environmental sciences at Virginia Tech. “Environmental concerns dictate that we increase the number of no-till acres in Virginia.”

Thomason, a featured speaker at the conference, noted the financial benefits related to no-till, namely, reduced fuel consumption, less manpower, and less equipment. “No-till is a profitable switch.”

He also pointed out that the farmer-to-farmer approach to learning is another critical piece to the educational component of this conference.

Thomason will join nationally renowned speakers Missy Bauer and Joel Gruver as presenters.

Bauer is an independent crop consultant and field agronomist with B&M Consulting of Coldwater, Mich. Her activities include serving as an agronomist for Farm Journal magazine and its television show, “Corn College TV.” On Feb. 7 in Harrisonburg, Bauer will discuss the top five factors needed to increase corn yields and get a great corn stand.

Gruver grew up on a small farm in Maryland and teaches at Western Illinois University, where he manages an 80-acre research farm. Gruver will discuss the science and management of soil biology, as well as the micronutrients necessary for crop growth.

Local experts and farmers who have successfully switched to no-till production will deliver several presentations on row crop production.

A trade show will also be held throughout the day, with equipment dealers and seed and other product suppliers on hand to answer questions. For each day’s complete agenda, visit the Virginia No Till Alliance website.

Individuals are asked to preregister by Jan. 30 by calling the Rockingham County Extension Office at 540-564-3080, or by emailing Matt Yancey. He can also be reached at 540-209-5718.

Virginia Cooperative Extension brings the resources of Virginia's land-grant universities, Virginia Tech and Virginia State University, to the people of the commonwealth. Through a system of on-campus specialists and locally based educators, it delivers education in the areas of agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer sciences, community viability, and 4-H youth development. With a network of faculty at two universities, 107 county and city offices, 11 agricultural research and Extension centers, and six 4-H educational centers, Virginia Cooperative Extension provides solutions to the problems facing Virginians today.