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Published December 12, 2009, 12:00 AM

Zero-tillage workshop set for Jan. 11-13 in Minot

The 32nd annual Manitoba-North Dakota Zero-tillage Workshop is designed to help producers meet the “triple bottom line” of sustainable production agriculture and help position producers to take advantage of the changes that will occur during the next few years. The theme for this year’s workshop is “Changing With the Times.”

The 32nd annual Manitoba-North Dakota Zero-tillage Workshop is designed to help producers meet the “triple bottom line” of sustainable production agriculture and help position producers to take advantage of the changes that will occur during the next few years. The theme for this year’s workshop is “Changing With the Times.”

The workshop is sponsored by the Manitoba-North Dakota Zero Tillage Farmers Association and will be held in Minot on Jan. 11-13, 2010.

Along with helping producers move no-till to the next level, consumer concerns also will be discussed.

“Consumers are looking for high-quality food and are interested in the manner in which their food is produced,” says Roger Ashley, North Dakota State University Dickinson Research Extension Center cropping specialist. “This workshop will provide producers with ideas for improving productivity and decreasing costs while providing high-quality food produced in a sustainable manner.”

One keynote speaker is Joao Carlos de Moreaes Sa. He is a professor in the Department of Soil Science at the State University of Ponta Grossa, Brazil. He has studied long-term changes in soil organic matter as a result of climate and management differences and its effect on productivity in tropical, subtropical and temperate zones. He also has studied the impact of no-till cropping systems intensification and nutrient cycling.

“Innovative approaches in the no-till system that Sa discusses can propel producers to a higher level of productivity while reducing costs, even in the cold climate of the northern Great Plains,” Ashley says.

“He’s got so many ideas for no-till that it will challenge even the most experienced no-till producer in considering the options,” says Dwayne Beck of Dakota Lakes Research Farm near Pierre, S.D.

The other internationally known speaker who will challenge producers in their quest for the ultimate cropping system is Theodor Friedrich, Food and Agriculture Organization, Rome, Italy. Friedrich is an expert on conservation agriculture and has more than 10 years of practical work experience in more than 60 countries.

Combining intensive production farming with environmental protection and ecosystem services and what role no-till farming systems have on the northern Great Plains will be emphasized during his presentation. Freidrich will stress how conservation agriculture /no-till cropping systems will help producers meet the challenge of changing times.

Other topics to be discussed at the workshop include cover crops and insect, disease, weed, fertility and cold/wet soil management as related to the demands for no-till.

Speakers leading these discussions include Martin Entz, University of Manitoba; Ed Winkle, retired Extension Service agent and no-till producer from Martinsville, Ohio; Shannon Osborne, Agricultural Research Service scientist from Brookings, S.D.; Dave Franzen, NDSU Extension Service soil fertility specialist; Jeremy Huether, precision no-till producer; Rick Bieber, no-till cover crop/livestock producer; and Ernie Sirski, a no-till producer from Manitoba.

“Producers should come away with at least 10 good ideas that they can apply during the next cropping season and at least two good ideas to position their farming operation to take advantage of the changes occurring,” says Mark Jennings, president of the Manitoba-North Dakota Zero Tillage Farmers Association. “This workshop should be well worth the effort and time to attend.”

A complete schedule and registration form can be found at http://www.mandakzerotill.org/.

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