More than 30 speakers — from farmers to precision experts to agronomists — will share their secrets for building more profitable, resilient no-till systems at the 28th annual National No-Tillage Conference in St. Louis, Mo.
Behind the theme “Banking More Profits with No-Till,” the National No-Tillage Conference (NNTC) returns to St. Louis in January with an agenda packed with in-depth sessions on every facet of successful no-till systems.
The world’s largest and longest-running gathering of no-tillers will feature more than 30 speakers and 100 total learning sessions offering practical, time-tested information on dynamic no-tiller planting systems, timely crop protection strategies, cost-saving precision technology and more.
Presentations from several successful no-tillers will highlight the 4-day event, including Roberto Peiretti from Argentina, Jason Mauck from Gaston, Ind., Paul Overby of Wolford, N.D., Jeff Martin of Mt. Pulaski, Ill., Mitchell Hora of Washington, Iowa and Marion Calmer from Alpha, Ill.
World renowned molecular biologist David Johnson, research scientist Mike Bredeson of the Ecdysis Foundation; agriculture consultant, futurist and entrepreneur Robert Saik; and veteran no-till nutrient management expert Ray Ward will also cover topics that are vitally important to no-tillers.
Additionally, workshops covering soil biology and raising hemp as a specialty crop will kick off this year’s conference.
“We’ve worked very hard this year to put together a comprehensive program that will give attendees insights into practices they want more information on — including interseeding, cover crop establishment and soil biology. And we’ll show them how they can capitalize monetarily on their no-till investment,” says John Dobberstein, senior editor of No-Till Farmer and director of the speaker program for NNTC.
“There will also be numerous opportunities to learn more about money-saving precision technology and get practical ideas on applying those practices on their farm operations, as well as the opportunities emerging for growers in organic practices.”
Compaction mitigation, manure management, autonomous farming, raising profitable corn and soybeans, organic no-till production, residue management and principles of regenerative agriculture are just some of the other important topics that will be covered by speakers at NNTC 2020.
Here are some highlights for the 2020 NNTC speaker program:
- In his general session, no-tiller Jason Mauck will discuss the components of his Constant Canopy relay cropping system that he’s building upon to raise high-yielding corn, soybeans and wheat — which allows him to capitalize on crop synergies, improve soil health and suppress weeds and make his operation more profitable and sustainable for his family and future generations. In his classroom, Mauck will share how he’s processing manure from both his farm’s 12,000 hogs, as well as from outside sources, to make a “biochar” applied to his fields that encapsulates nitrogen and boosts carbon content in the soil. He’ll also describe his plans to integrate covers, wheat and the biochar into a one-pass system that keeps soils covered over winter and increases soil health and productivity.
- Mitchell Hora, a no-tiller, soil health consultant and CEO of Continuum Ag, will in his general session outline specific processes and data that can be used by no-tillers to both quantify and improve soil health on their operations. In his classroom, Hora will show attendees how they can take what they’ve learned from the Haney soil health test and make adjustments to their management to improve soil resiliency and function. He’ll also provide an overview of emerging credit markets for sequestered carbon and what opportunities may exist with carbon credits in the future for no-tillers.
- In his general session, no-tiller Paul Overby will discuss his transition from successful no-tilling to regenerative agriculture practices and how he’s using cropping patterns, covers, livestock and other tools to build soil organic matter and unlock available nutrients in the soil profile. He will also share the current state of regenerative ag and the opportunities waiting for no-tillers. Overby will also lead an interesting discussion in his classroom about the economic value of no-tilled soils and the disconnect he sees on this issue with land appraisers, based on his own research and number crunching.
- In the Harry Young Jr. Memorial Lecture general session, New Mexico State University molecular biologist David Johnson will share results of greenhouse and field research that helped him devise the Biologically EnhancedAgricultural Management (BEAM) system which promotes regenerative practices to help no-tillers further ratchet up soil health indicators and improve crop yields and profitability. In his classroom session, Johnson will discuss the process used to create a fungal-dominant, biologically diverse compost inoculant to jump start soil biology and increase biomass production.
- In the Frank Lessiter Legacy Lecture general session sponsored by Calmer Corn Heads, Roberto Peiretti — a founding member of the Argentinian no-till farmers association AAPRESID and a co-founder of Bioceres — will share the main principles of his systemic approach to no-tilling honed over the past 40 years in South America, including the benefits of integrating crop rotation, cover crops, carbon farming and fertilizer use and placement to create an efficient, high-powered no-till system. Peiretti in his classroom session will share valuable tips and insights on measuring the nutrients and biomass cover crops contribute to the soil profile and what mistakes no-tillers should avoid making when deciding on possible reductions in fertilizer application.
- Mike Bredeson in his general session will take attendees on a deep dive into how interseeding covers affects insect communities, and how beneficial invertebrates react when cover crops are interseeded into what would otherwise be a monoculture. In his classroom, Bredeson will discuss the effectiveness of neonicotinoid seed treatments and where the chemicals go after planting.
- Two early, in-depth workshops are planned on Jan. 7, 2020 to kick off the conference. Pennsylvania no-tiller and cover crop educator Steve Groff will lead a 2-hour workshop about raising hemp as specialty crop for a marketing that is burgeoning in the U.S. Groff will share his early experiences raising 70 acres hemp for the CBD market and provide attendees with an understanding of what’s required to break into this market, the equipment and fertility requirements, and what mistakes to avoid. He’ll even share how cover crops can be incorporated with hemp plants to facilitate soil health and provide nutrients for optimal growth.
- Soil health consultant Jim Hoorman will lead a 3-hour workshop Jan. 7 introducing metarhizium fungi and define its role as a soil health parasite to over 200 insect species and recycler of soil nitrogen. He’ll also outline the importance of mycorrhizal fungi functions, report on what mycorrhizae species are present in the soil and which ones are needed to improve agricultural production, as well as discuss ag products that are harmful or helpful to establishment of these fungi in no-till systems.
Attendees will also have the chance to recognize the most recent winners of the No-Till Innovator Awards, sponsored by Calmer Corn Heads, as well as the Responsible Nutrient Management Practitioner awards, co-sponsored by No-Till Farmer and AgroLiquid.
Two more events highlighting the 2020 conference include a welcome reception on Tuesday evening, sponsored by Topcon, Midwest Bio-Tech and Neudorff, and the NNTC hospitality event on Wednesday evening, sponsored by Hawkins Ag.
You can find more information on the rest of the speaker lineup, the conference schedule and host hotel at www.NoTillConference. com. Register online today for just $359, a savings of $50 off the on-site rate. And save even more when you register additional farm/family members for just $332, which is $77 off the on-site cost.
No-Till Farmer would like to thank 14 industry-leading companies that are title sponsors for the 28th annual conference, including: Ag Leader Technology, Case IH, Copperhead Ag, Dawn Equipment, Equipment Technologies (Apache sprayers), Fennig Equipment, KB Seed Solutions, Montag Mfg., Needham Ag Technologies, Precision Planting, Pure Grade Liquid Fertilizer (The Andersons),Syngenta, Martin-Till Planting System and Yetter Farm Equipment.