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Annual zero-tillage workshop set for Jan. 8-10 in Bismarck

Published: 19 December 2012

The Manitoba-North Dakota Zero Tillage Farmers Association is holding its 35th annual workshop and trade show Jan. 8-10, 2013, at the Ramkota Hotel in Bismarck, N.D. The theme for the 2013 workshop is "No-till: An Evolution Toward Sustainable Ag."

"The Man-Dak board has put together a diverse agenda of sustainability topics encompassing soil biology, seeding systems, nutrient and pest management techniques, research updates and management of soil carbon," according to Roger Ashley, NDSU Extension Service area cropping systems specialist at the Dickinson Research Extension Center and adviser to the association.

A few of the confirmed presenters are David Montgomery, University of Washington professor; Paul Jasa, agricultural engineer from the University of Nebraska; Juca Sa, soil organic matter expert from State University of Ponta Grossa in Brazil; James Hoorman, Ohio State University Extension educator; Gabe Brown, Bismarck rancher and Natural Resources Defense Council 2012 Growing Green Award winner; Shannon Osborne, agronomist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Brookings, S.D.; and Jeff Stachler, NDSU and University of Minnesota Extension Service sugar beet and herbicide weed resistance specialist.

There also will be several panel and rap session discussions and the international beer and bull session.

Montgomery will give the keynote presentation. He will discuss how soils have been and will continue to be of strategic importance to the sustainability of agricultural production and the sustainability of societies. How farmers respond to challenges to maintaining soils in place and increasing production for an increasing population will have a great effect on the sustainability of civilizations. He also will discuss how no-till cropping systems will help agriculture evolve toward a sustainable future.

Sa will help producers understand how to improve organic matter dynamics, which also can improve crop production.

Hoorman will talk about the biology of soil compaction. Soil compaction is a product of tillage that can break down soil structure. Farmers often use tillage in an attempt to dry wet areas. However, often the result is the opposite. He will discuss how producers can put biology to work to solve this problem.

What happens if glyphosate no longer works is the topic of Stachler's presentation.

"This could become a difficult issue for no-till cropping systems if glyphosate is overused the way it is in some tilled systems in the Midwest," Ashley said.

"Stachler will lay out what producers need to do to maintain the viability of glyphosate and other herbicides in controlling weeds."

Brown will discuss how producers can get benefits from integrating livestock in their operation while avoiding soil compaction. The system he developed for his operation has reduced the use of commercial fertilizer by 90 percent and herbicide by more than 75 percent while maintaining and, in some cases, increasing the productivity of his land.

Additional topics, speakers and registration information can be found on the Man-Dak website at or by contacting Bonnie Staiger at 701-223-3184 or

The workshop is being held in conjunction with Soil Health Week (Jan. 6-12).

Two other workshops also will be held at the Ramkota Hotel: a grazing workshop on Jan. 7 and a soil health workshop on Jan. 8.

The Manitoba-North Dakota Zero Tillage Farmers Association was created by farmers to facilitate the exchange of ideas, encourage zero-till research and disseminate zero-till information.

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Last Updated: Sunday, August 25, 2013