WIU Ag Students Educate Preschoolers

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I am definitely someone who is all for educating today’s youth about agriculture.  Now, I’m not talking about trying to give them a college level lecture, simply covering the basics.  This is exactly what Instructor Jana Knupp’s Ag 340 class allowed its’ students to accomplish.  For just two hours in the morning from 9:00 AM to 11:15 AM, we students had the opportunity to educate preschoolers about agriculture at the WIU Livestock Center.

Initial Surprises

WesleyTrip-5I can’t help but admit that I was a little excited to see the preschoolers running up to the pens of pigs and sheep when they were released in the Livestock Center to do a bit of learning; but then again, what little kid could resist real-life baby animals?  As I held one of the sheep for the children to pet, I was shocked by how many of them kept calling them goats.  Although they are only four and five years old, I would have thought that at least children’s books would have helped alleviate some of this confusion.  Boy was I wrong.  I then began thinking at what age kids that grow up in urban settings, large or small, would be exposed to any sort of curriculum remotely related to agriculture.  I realized that they essentially never are.

Rewarding Moments

            WesleyTripSeveral other students, including myself, were stationed at the animals during the preschoolers’ visits, and I couldn’t help but smile when any of the kids would repeat a fact that we had told them.  We would ask the children what items they thought came from the sheep, and would have them touch the sheep after we told them that it was wool; telling them what wool is used for, and then having them touch it on the sheep was a great teaching tool.  I truly believe that trips like this, interactive and hands-on, are what help kids retain what basic knowledge they are able to absorb.  I was also impressed when I told a few of the preschoolers that sheep had four stomachs, and then they asked if cows did too.  It is amazing what random bits of knowledge that children actually hold on to, which is why it is so important what we choose to educate them about.

Food for Thought

WesleyTrip-6There is clearly a gap in knowledge between those that have agricultural backgrounds/educations and those that do not, children and adults alike.  Advocating for agriculture is a huge step in closing that gap and making the general public more knowledgeable about the commodities they consume on a daily basis.  Classes like Instructor Jana Knupp’s Ag 340 would make a huge difference on the community level in terms of broadening the educational spectrum.

Cassie's iPhone 066My name is Cassie Lindsey, and I am a senior Agriculture Science student with a minor in Agronomy.  I grew up on a livestock and row crop farm near Jacksonville IL, and will be working for a crop insurance company following graduation in May.  I have always been passionate about agriculture and believe that educating people about it can greatly benefit the industry as a whole.

A Day In The Life On A Hog Farm: Owning a Hog Confinement

Owning a Hog Confinement is an intensive and rewarding job that is required seven days a week for three-hundred and sixty-five days a year. For Dalton Chandler, the day starts at 5:00 a.m. to load and unload hogs to be shipped for market followed by a daily routine.

Dalton Chandler has a contract feed with TriOak Food. The contract is a ten year contract in which Chandler supplies the ground and paid for the building to be built. His particular building is 72 feet wide and 320 feet long. It is a paid per contract and makes the same amount of money each month. It also pays per pig space; so for every x amount of pigs is a x amount of dollars per pig. TriOak has approximately three-hundred individual farmers who possess anywhere from one to ten different buildings. They have twelve reproduction sites that mostly reside in Iowa and western Illinois. TriOak supplies all the feed and medications for the entire term. Each term is 5 1/2-6 months long depending on the marketing pigs. The market weight for each pig varies from 275-300 lbs. TriOak also pays for and supplies the trucking and transportation of the pigs in and out to market.

Chandler’s barn is a 2480 barn for full grown pigs. This means that it holds 2,480 full grown hogs. It is also referred to as a Double-Stock or Ween to Finish(market) barn. The double-stock barn holds 4,960 pigs when they are first weened. He then raises half of these pigs to 30-40 lbs where they are shipped to a finishing barn. The other half stays until they reach market weight. Each pin holds about 50 pigs weighing 300 pounds. Once hogs reach a certain weight, TriOak switches the feed to a heavier feed to finish out their term. Before Chandler can receive a new shipment of pigs, the entire building must be pressure washed and sanitized to prevent spread of sickness and disease.

The barn is regulated by computer which controls temperature, heat lamps, and fans. When weened pigs are first brought in they are put under LP Bruters. These are basically heating lamps that run off of LP tanks. The barn is typically set at 85-90 degrees. The fans are used to make sure all the pig gases are sucked out of the barn. All manure is  contained in a large pit that is 8-10 feet deep and runs the entire length of the building. Once it is full, Chandler uses giant hoses to pump the manure out and spread over his fields as fertilizer. Dalton has a fieldsman that works for TriOak to help sort pins at their desire to send to market. The fieldsman is also there if there he has any questions or is uncertain of diseases in the pigs. They will then discuss the issues and decide if a veterinarian needs to be called to run tests.

There is a daily routine Chandler does each day for his hog building. Before entering and upon leaving, Chandler must change boots and clothes. The routine consists of a walk-through to check on all the pigs and their pens to make sure they are healthy and stable. He also checks to make sure none of the pigs are injured or have a foot caught in the pins. If any pigs appear to be sick, they are put into a designated sick pen and nursed back to health. This makes it easier to treat. Any dead pigs must be put into a composer so they can decompose. He checks the water pressure and automatic feed system levels and records these to mandate their intake per day. This is so he can regulate and measure if the pigs are sick if it changes in a big way or if they remain at a constant rate. Chandler vaccinates every pig himself and records every CC/per day and what type of vaccination was given.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog! My name is Brooke Griswold and I am from Macomb, Illinois although I now reside in Little York, Illinois. I am currently a senior at Western Illinois University. In December of 2016 I will graduate with a Minor in Agricultural Science with an emphasis on Animal Science and a Minor in Chemistry. I work at Chick’s on the Square and Roseville Veterinary Clinic for large and small animals. My favorite part about work is going on calls with the vet, working at the Fairview Sale Barn, and helping my boyfriend with his pigs.

Agriculture Mythbusting with Dr. Bernards

I am fortunate enough to go to a university where the professors care about what their students retain from lectures and how they can apply this knowledge to their daily lives.  Dr.  Mark Bernards is certainly one of those professors; he is the Associate Professor of Agronomy, Crop Science, and Weed Control at Western Illinois University.  Dr. Bernards grew up in Spanish Fork, UT, a town with a strong agricultural economy and culture.  His father was an avid gardener, which is where he gained his passion for working with plants.  Dr. Bernards worked for a neighbor with a small farm during his youth where he hauled and stacked alfalfa hay bales.  His neighbor and employer was a research farm manager for Brigham Young University, and ironically discouraged Dr. Bernards from studying agriculture based on the fact that he did not have a farming background.

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Fortunately, Dr. Bernards had a professor that was dismissive of his neighbor’s comments, and encouraged him to gain experience through various internships.  At one time, Dr. Bernards planned to pursue medicine, but decided to go down the agricultural route after being offered an opportunity to pursue a Masters degree in Agronomy, where his passion for these subjects developed further.  After completing three influential internships at BYU’s research farm, a ranch in southern Idaho, and with a field scientist with AgrEvo in Ohio, Dr. Bernards went on to get his PhD in Crop and Soil Sciences from Michigan State University and was then employed at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he worked on weed management issues in irrigated cropping systems and was also very active in Extension activities.

Dr. Bernards currently conducts 20-25 trials each year sponsored by various chemical companies in which he evaluates new herbicide concepts, adjuvants, and herbicide-resistant traits.  He also expanded to doing a few fungicide trials, and this year, will do a corn rootworm study as well.  One of his primary research interests at WIU has been on the interaction of winter annual plants on the subsequent soybean crop; he has also done work on cover crop response to different herbicides, and in the coming years, hopes to work more with Dr. Gruver (Associate Professor of Soil Science and Sustainable Ag) on water quality issues as affected by cover crops.

I had the opportunity to pick Dr. Bernards’ brain about current issues within the agricultural industry dealing with popular misconceptions and concerns for the future.  For example, I asked him what common misconceptions about modern organic farming he finds relevant to the average consumer.  His response was something similar to what I have heard in one of his lectures, which was:  some people perceive organic agriculture to be “better.” In reality, it is simply another way of producing a commodity.  He goes on to state, “People believe organic means pesticide-free, but that is not necessarily the case.  The pesticides just have to meet certain rules.”  Dr. Bernards then goes on to explain that there are both positives and negatives to organic farming, similar to positive and negative aspects associated with other farming methods.

Another question that I would consider to be a hot topic in this industry is:  what would happen if the government banned all use of pesticides?  Dr. Bernards response was that times would be tough for a few years as farmers and industry leaders learned to adjust.  He goes on to say, “Initial yields would be severely hurt until people reduced farm sizes to the point where they would have time to cultivate for weeds.  We would likely see more major crop losses in areas where conditions are favorable for disease.  I would expect losses to insects would increase rapidly for a time until rotations were diversified to better manage insect pests.”  All of these consequences would reduce crop supply and increase commodity prices; the U.S. would also be at a disadvantage compared to countries still utilizing pesticides, and would potentially increase imports of food.  Management and production practices would need to be modified to effectively manage pests through diversity of crops, varieties, and management methods.

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The final question that I presented to Dr. Bernards was how he thought agriculture as a whole would change if GMOs were banned from production agriculture.  His response was, “Banning GMOs would be less disruptive than banning pesticides. GMOs facilitate a simple crop rotation (corn-soybean) because of the ease of weed management and some insect management with GMO crops. So a ban would result in major changes in the pesticides used, and there would likely be greater use of some pesticides (especially insecticides).  The biggest tragedy with banning GMO’s to me would be that a vocal minority opposed to a particular technology could create enough fear that a tool with extremely low risks for harm – and many potential benefits – could be blocked.  Opinion would trump measured and validated scientific data – and that is not a direction that benefits society in the long run.”

This blog was not written to make everyone think that GMOs are the best thing since sliced bread, but simply to further educate the public about these current technologies that are involved in modern agriculture.  Without the use of GMOs and even pesticides, agriculture would surely be in a bind for a few years, which is something that our country, and even others, might not be able to afford.

Cassie's iPhone 066My name is Cassie Lindsey, and I am a senior Agriculture Science student with a minor in Agronomy.  I grew up on a livestock and row crop farm near Jacksonville IL, and will be working for a crop insurance company following graduation in May.  I have always been passionate about agriculture and believe that educating people about it can greatly benefit the industry as a whole.

 

An Organic Farmer’s Perspective on Conventional Farming

At Western Illinois University we are able to explore ideas from many sides of the agricultural world.  In agronomy, students are able to work and learn about both organic and conventional farming.  Dr. Joel Gruver is the university’s organic research professor and also teaches many classes about both organic and conventional farming.  He, along with many others, understands there is a large debate on organic vs. GMOs.  With his organic background, he has an interesting perspective on the use of GMOs and conventional farming.

Dr. Gruver

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Dr. Gruver grew up in north central Maryland on a small farm.  His farm was not certified as organic; although, his family did use mainly organic practices and produced much of the food they consumed.  The farm was not a primary income source, but they did sell some produce, with honey being the most important farm product. His farm background sparked his passion for soil and plants and led him into his career as a soil science/conservation educator.

Dr. Gruver attended Principia College in Elsah, IL where he completed a B.S. in Chemistry.  After a few years of farming, he went to the University of Maryland for a M.S. in Agronomy. After a few more years of farming he began a PhD program in Soil Science at North Carolina State University.  Five years after starting his PhD., he found himself at Western Illinois University.

Prior to working at Western, his main production focus had been horticultural crops.  In 2007, he jumped head first into organic corn and soybean production on the Allison Farm located north of Macomb.

Benefits of Organic Farming

There are three main benefits of organic farming according to Dr. Gruver.  First, there are farmer benefits.  When producing organic crops, there is often a greater income per unit of production. There are also benefits for the consumer.  If someone is an organic consumer, they are likely to pay more attention to food purchasing, preparation, and overall nutrition.  Lastly, organic farming can benefit the land.  It can have positive impacts on soil, water, and wildlife in comparison to conventional practices.

Problems with Organic Farming

One problem stated by Dr. Gruver is that the certification is just for the process.   The nutritional quality of foods, land stewardship, and animal welfare are better on some organic farms than others even though they are operating with the same standards. “The reality is that there is wide variation in how well organic farming is practiced.” He also states that solving problems on organic farms can be challenging. The foundation of organic farming is long-term system strategies that improve soil health and suppress pests and weeds; however, sometimes extreme weather or other factors cause the best-laid plans to unravel. The result may be poor weed control or issues with supplying crops with inadequate Nitrogen because organically approved rescue treatments tend to be limited or expensive.  Unrealistic consumer expectations of organic farming can also create challenges. When idealized views of organic farming and the realities of it are divergent, it is hard for farmers and vendors of organic products to meet consumer expectations.

Concerns on GMOs

Dr. Gruver has three main concerns about GMOs. His first concern is with the poor planning of the seed industry when commercializing GMOs. The initial traits targeted efficiency for farmers rather than quality for consumers. Consumer backlash has caused the seed industry to become defensive resulting in ridicule of consumers rather than respectful and informative conversations. He is also concerned that the main GMO traits commercialized (Glyphosate resistance and Bt) have had some negative impacts on farming practices. These traits have led to less scouting and applications of IPM principles, which has contributed to pest resistance. Seed representatives denied the resistance of pests until it was too late to take proactive steps to prevent the problem. He also commented that the new focus on dicamba and 2,4-D resistant crops seems like another example of short-term planning rather than a long-term strategy.

Lastly, Dr. Gruver is concerned about the marketing of GMOs to peasant farmers in developing countries. Without education and adequate technical support, GMO crops have often not performed as well as expected by peasant farmers, leading to a cycle of debt and social failure.

Benefits of GMOs

Along with concerns, Dr. Gruver thinks there are benefits to the use of GMOs. He commented that the glyphosate resistant and Bt traits have had some positive effects. Glyphosate resistance crops have contributed to greater use of no-till and cover crops in some areas. Bt traits have reduced the use of insecticides resulting in higher populations of beneficial insects and more natural bio-control.

Pesticide Use on Organics

Q. What makes certain pesticides acceptable for use on organic fields?

A.The original concept of organic (as conceived by the British agronomist who coined the term) was that a farm should be viewed as an organism (i.e., a complex system of integrated parts). The agronomist was concerned about oversimplification of farming systems rather than specifically the use of man-made inputs. Unfortunately, the term “organic” has evolved to largely mean farming without man-made inputs. Many successful organic farms prevent pest problems through cultural practices rather than using “organically approved” plant extracts or microbial formulations that have pesticidal activity. This is especially the case with organic row crops. Organically approved pesticides are mostly used on horticultural crops.

Overall Views on the Organic Vs. GMO Debate

Dr. Gruver commented that the debate about organic vs. GMOs is often framed in terms of which approach is needed to feed a growing world distracting from more important issues such as the root causes of poverty and hunger, respect for consumer concerns, and short-term decision making vs. long-term stewardship.

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My name is Sarah Reihm, and I am from Avon, IL, where I was raised on a cattle and grain farm. I am a current senior at Western Illinois University. In May 2016, I will graduate with a B.S. of Ag Science with an emphasis in agronomy and a minor in plant breeding. Upon graduation I will start working on my career in agronomy.

A Labor of Love

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One of the first lessons I remember learning in life was hard work will pay off in due time. This lesson is far from the front of my mind during many activities. Whether it be working under the  blazing summer sun putting up the third cutting alfalfa or making my way to the barn in the blowing snow to check on a soon to calve cow. With all of the day to day work involved in taking care of cattle, there always seems to be a reminder of the rewards we reap for dedicating our lives to livestock.

Calving Season

Calving season is without a doubt my favorite time around the farm. With that being said it is also a time that presents an abundance of work and sleepless nights. A lot of people might mistake this time of year as just being the time when all the cute cuddly calves are birthed and life is good. While that might be true in an ideal situation, calving always presents us with countless challenges. A few weeks prior to the first due dates within the herd comes the onset of the nightly ritual of checking cows. At first the energy is high and the anticipation of finding the first calf builds nightly as udders begin to tighten up. As the week wears on the energy levels drop and you begin to wonder if the due dates are true. About the time when you think you messed up your dates or something went wrong during breeding season a quick glance across the lot yields the first of hopefully many calves to come.

The first calf on the ground marks the onset of another calving ritual; calf-hood vaccinations. Taking care of newborn calves is a crucial step in ensuring the productivity of the calf long into its life. With most new mothers this is a rather routine step in the calving process, but there will always be some that just aren’t too sure about you messing with their precious calf. Walking up to the first calf of the season without fail, always puts butterflies in my stomach. Will it be a heifer? A bull? How well will it be marked? The best analogy I can think of for all the questions running through my mind comes from Forest Gump “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get”. All of the nerves subside as you kneel down beside the next generation of the herd. Its time to make sure the calf gets off on the right foot. With the shots also comes the calf’s permanent herd ID number on a nice, new bright orange and black ear tag. If all goes well momma and calf are then left to be  and the wait for calf number two begins.

As more calves hit the ground checking and vaccinating becomes routine and second nature. While late night checks and dealing with complicated births are not ideal for getting an adequate amount of sleep nightly, I would not change a thing about it. With more calves on the ground keeping an eye on the mother’s nutrition becomes the next item of business. When cows start lactating it puts a large strain on their bodies and keeping up with her nutritional demands is important for allowing her to raise the calf to the best of her ability. To maintain or change intake levels it might require sorting off the cows that have calved in order to feed them differently from their yet to calve herd mates.

Breeding Season

Breeding season for us typically begins the last part of April in order to calve the bulk of our cows in February and March. In our herd we implement the advantages of artificial insemination, with this comes a bit more work than just turning a bull out with cows.  In our herd it is not uncommon to breed cows to five or more different bulls. For me breeding decisions are constantly on my mind and in essence begin a year before the breeding will occur. In a years time I will look at countless bulls as potential candidates to breed cows to. With this an ever pressing question is on my mind, whether to go with old and proven or young and untested. As a young producer both options have their strengths and weaknesses. A bull that is old and proven should yield you a good predictable calf crop but many other producers will have comparable calves on the ground. Where as using a young unproven bull will in simple terms make you look like a shear genius or a total idiot.

The weeks leading up to breeding are a little nerve racking to say the least. Cows must receive a round of pre-breeding vaccines to protect against viruses that can negatively influence pregnancy rates. Along with getting cows ready, the quality of the next year’s calf crop relies a big part on the bulls I have chosen. As the time nears it never fails I always change my mind on which bull I want to use on a cow or two, when taking into consideration the calf they just had. But for the most part I trust my gut and go with my original decisions.

Spring Turnout 

With the onset of spring marks the beginning of the growing season for cool season forages in the pastures. By mid May hopefully all the cows have went through one round of artificial insemination and are ready to be turned out onto these rich pastures. The joy of opening the gate that separates the luscious pasture and the lot where cows have stayed all winter long is a sweet moment. Cows on fresh pasture is a sight that I love to see, not only have I made it through another calving and breeding season, but daily chores are greatly reduced. The daily routine now includes checking fence, water tanks, mineral feeders, and making sure the herd bull is doing his job.

Summer 

Summer around the farm is full of jobs such as baling hay for the upcoming winter, rotating pastures, and keeping an eye on the health of the herd. Putting up hay can be a dreadful job if the weather and or heat doesn’t cooperate. That being said it is still a job I enjoy and find rather relaxing. Rotating pastures is important to utilize the pastures effectively. Grazing a pasture too short will stunt it’s regrowth and limit its usefulness the remainder of the year, but under grazing a pasture is basically the same as wasting feed in the winter. Between these tasks calves must be vaccinated and weaned from their mothers. This process normally takes calves two trips thru the chute and patience for mothers reluctant to let their offspring go.

Once calves are weaned they go into a dry lot to get started on feed and are soon separated by sex to feed each more effectively. It is at this point when we can start to get an idea of what the calves really are and which heifers will potentially be kept as replacements for the herd. These heifers that we like are sorted off and will be started on a nutrition plan that will prepare them for entering production. The balance of the calves are either sold as feeder calves or kept for us to finish depending on the current markets.

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Fall 

Sale season. To others fall is the time of year for corn harvest and forests coming to life with fall colors, but to me fall means one thing, sale season. During fall I will travel on average to 10-15 production sales. There are few things I find more relaxing than viewing cattle and listening to an auctioneer’s chant. While traveling to sales is one of my favorite pastimes, it is a rather stressful time for my banker, but that is a story for another time.

Winter

By now cows are brought up from their fall pasture and feeding begins. Feeding cows over the winter is to ensure cows have proper nutrition to nourish the fetuses they are carrying and they themselves be in proper body condition come calving season. Cold and snow are challenges we always face, whether it be over a foot of snow or waterers freezing up from the bitter cold temperatures. There are always chores to be done during this time. That being said the countdown to February is on, which can only mean one thing, calving season.

Hello my name is Keaton Dobbs. I am from southern Illinois and I am currently a senior at Western Illinois University. I will be graduating with a major in Ag business and minor in animal science. My family and I currently run a herd of around 20 polled Hereford cows. Livestock have always played an important role in my life, when not working with our herd I work for several different cattle producers around the area.

 

Cutting Cost With No-Till

In farming today one of the main objectives is to lower costs.  One of the ways to lower  cost is through the process of no-till farming.  The definition of no-till farming is a way of growing crops or pasture from year to year without disturbing the soil through tillage.

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Here you can see the left over residue of previous crops.

 

This way of farming lowers cost in several different aspects.  There is no expensive overhead with the outrageous prices of large machinery that only serves one purpose, and that purpose being tilling ground.  Also if you are not tilling your ground, you do not have to buy expensive tillage equipment.  This also means that you are not burning as much fuel because you are in the field half the amount of time.

Something else to consider is the fact of wear and tear on equipment.  This means all the maintenance that is required to keep equipment going, hours on the machinery, and value of the machine itself.  Less work means less maintenance and less hours on a machine.  So this means that there is less money spent on oil, filters, parts, new equipment, and endless expenses that can be minimized by simply not using it as much.

Another factor that comes into play is the cost of labor.  If there is no one that has to be in a tractor tilling ground than the farmer is saving money by not having to pay someone to till up his/her fields.  This also means there is more time to do other things that could benefit the farm and make the farmer more money

Both farms that I work on are 100 percent no-till operations.  I enjoy seeing the differences in a tillage operation of the neighboring farmers who essentially work their ground to death.  The farmers I work for have more time on their hands to do other things such as raise cattle that can earn them money so that they have multiple sources of income year round.

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Alan Covert and his grandson

I asked my boss Alan Covert what it was like going to a no-till operation on his family farm. He told me “well it was a hard thing to convince my dad to not work his ground.”  He explained it like this, “It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks, and when someone has done something their whole life the exact same way it is hard to change their mind.” He simply stated this “He said I do half the work to grow great crops and spend a fifth of what I used to per acre to grow these crops, It is a no brainer” he stated.

 

kyle and kynaHello mine Name is Kyle Kreps and I am a senior at Western Illinois University.  I am majoring in Ag Business and upon completion I will be seeking employment in the agriculture community.  I did not grow up on a farm as my grandpa had a small farm when I was growing up, but sold out when I was young.  I have always worked on a farm and I love it. I knew that after I obtained my associates from Spoon River College that I wanted to pursue and further my education in the agriculture field.

How to Reduce Tillage Erosion in Hilly Areas

In hilly areas that have been subject to cultivation over long periods of time increased tillage has lead to topsoil moving from the highlands to the lowlands. As Sharon Papiernik stated, ™”All tillage sends soil downslope…Reducing the number and intensity of tillage operations decreases tillage erosion.”  Less passes with tillage implements no doubt reduce tillage erosion, but there are remedies for land that has already been extensively eroded.

In these highly erodible landscapes there is a great difference in soil characteristics such as pH, soil texture, nutrient content, and organic matter content which combine to lower yields in the highlands where excessive topsoil has been removed.

When addressing tillage erosion two options were represented by Karl Retzlaff and Mike Rolstad and they both hope to deposit additional topsoil to the highlands and slopes that have been damaged by extensive tillage.  Retzlaff’s method was to move topsoil from lowlands that had accumulated it to highlands that have been depleted through extensive erosion.  Rolstad on the other hand, decided to take topsoil from non-cropped lands such as fence rows in order to move more topsoil into depleted areas.

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Reducing Tillage Erosion

Retzlaff’s solution included adding 6 inches of topsoil from the lowlands to the highlands.  In the most highly eroded areas corn yields went up by as much as forty-eight bushels and bean yields increased by as much as eight bushels.  There is no doubt that there is a sizable increase in yield, but yields dropped significantly where soil was removed and this process would cost nearly eight hundred dollars per acre.

Rolstad on the other hand chose to move soil from non-cropped areas to cropland.  He had four feet of accumulated soil along his fence rows which he chose to move to his eroded highlands.  Although he does not grow corn Rolstad’s soybean yields went up by seventeen percent and his wheat yields rose by eleven percent.  This process is an excellent method for restored highly eroded highlands, but it would be a very expensive process without access to earth moving equipment.

Tillage erosion is a major issue within America and throughout the world, but conservation methods such as no-till or conservation tillage greatly decrease tillage erosion.  However, some hilly soils are already badly degraded, so restoration projects like those conducted by Retzlaff and Rolstad will be the key to restoring productivity to eroded soils.

My name is Adam Bergschneider and I am a senior Ag Science major at Western Illinois University.  I am from Alexander, IL and I have been involved in production agriculture since I was a small child.  This topic is very familiar to me because our family farms many hilly areas and I know the effect of continuous tillage in highland areas.