Protecting the Soil - - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Protecting the Soil

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Today, 50 representatives from 6 countries, made a visit to Willow City so that they could see and experience the benefits of no-till farming.

No till operations have gained momentum in the state, and Bonnie Campo takes us there to talk with one business owner who says it will produce better yields while being environmentally sustainable.

Just three or four decades ago, there was an popular and accepted way farmers could preserve their soil for next years crops.

(Jay Fisher, North Central Ag Extension) "Before all of this rain cycle, why we had a lot of drought. Preserving soil moisture out here in central and western North Dakota, we use to fallow the ground for a year."

In recent years farmers found a reduction in tillage actually helped more. A company called Baker No-Tillage has created a seeder system called Cross Slot. They think they have an answer that could provide better soil and yields in cold, hot, rocky and smooth soils.

(Bill Ritchie, General Manager Cross Slot) "What we have done, is develop the technology that we believe works in pretty much all of those conditions, and I think the fact that we have machines in 20 countries around the world, in a huge range of conditions, and it's the same machine. It doesn't have to have a whole lot of different adaptations to work in those soils."

Most farmers from North Dakota will tell you the change didn't come easy.

(Jay Fisher, North Central Ag Extension) ".This method of seeding required a great deal of mental change in our growers. We were use to doing things where with the tillage we pretty much had black soils, nice rows."

(Bill Ritchie, General Manager Cross Slot) "This whole concept of no tillage is really difficult to grasp and accept, but in fact the soil needs cover over it."

Cross Slot says, like other no till operations, they experience less wind erosion and keep more moisture in the ground by not tilling. Their machines are now in countries all over the world because they did their homework.

(Jay Fisher, North Central Ag Extension) "Cross Slot system was developed at a university there in New Zealand, and some 20 years ago.

Aside from running a business they said there is a bigger need for a better management system.

Bill Ritchie, General Manager Cross Slot) "Only 4 percent of the earth's surface is available to produce crops, not very much, and that area is decreasing all the time because as population grows, we cover more and more of that ground."

He estimates by the year 2050, 50 percent of the world's population will have an urgent need for food. In Willow City, Bonnie Campo KX News.

The Cross Slot tour will continue tomorrow.


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