The Conservation Tillage and Cropping Systems Workgroup has launched a new radio podcast to provide farmers information about adopting conservation tillage techniques at their operations.
The movement toward conservation tillage seems to fit right in with two other farming industry trends - pinching pennies and protecting the environment, according to an article in the September-October 2010 Grower magazine.
UC Davis Cooperative Extension cropping system specialist Jeff Mitchell told reporter Tom Burfield that some form of conservation tillage is used for 20 percent of California dairy silage production. The practice is even more prevalent in the Midwest.
In addition, a rising number of California processing-tomato growers and some fresh-market tomato growers also use a form of minimum tillage, often to avoid damaging drip irrigation tape, Mitchell said.
The article profiled ranch manager Jesse Sanchez of Sano Farms in Firebaugh, Calif., who introduced strip-tillage for the company’s fresh and processed tomatoes about six years ago.
“I’ll never go back to conventional,” Sanchez was quoted in the story.
Frank Lessiter, editor of No-till Farmer, announced that the magazine is seeking nominations for the third class of no-tillers to be named "Responsible Nutrient Management Practitioners." Winners will be honored at the 19th annual National No-Tillage Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio. To nominate no-till practitioners, fill in this survey. Self-nominations are accepted.
Three no-tillers will be selected by an independent panel of nutrient experts. The winning no-tillers will receive free transportation, lodging and registration to the National No-Tillage Conference in Cincinnati from Jan. 12-15, 2011, on behalf of Agro-Culture Liquid Fertilizers and No-Till Farmer.
An article about silage corn production using conservation tillage was one of Progressive Forage Grower's Top 10 most well-read online articles in 2010, the magazine announced.
Written by UC Cooperative Extension cropping systems specialist Jeff Mitchell, the article featured vignettes about four California dairy farms where conservation tillage is being applied.
- Michael and Adam Crowell of Bar-Vee Dairy in Turlock, California, have been no-tilling their winter small grain, twin-row corn and sorghum sudan for five years.
- Ezequiel Correia Jr. and Sr. of Correia Family Dairy just north of Santa Nella, California, began strip-tilling their silage corn in 2009.
- Dino Giacomazzi, a dairyman in Hanford, California, in Kings County, has been strip-tilling silage since 2005.
- Tom Barcellos of Barcellos Farms in Tipton, California, has been in the no-till and strip-till business longer and more consistently than just about any other dairy silage producer in the entire SJV.
In addition, the article outlined "common points" employed by all of the producers, such as advanced planning, laying out appropriately-spaced, shallow irrigation berms, and selecting and adjusting proper strip-till equipment for specific field conditions.
Hanford dairy farmer Dino Giacomazzi was recognized today for his innovations in conservation tillage at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 12th annual Environmental Awards Ceremony held in downtown Los Angeles, according to an EPA news release.
Giacomazzi was in good company. The 12 businesses and individuals honored included Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Fresno mayor Ashley Swearengin and a 14-year-old boy who recorded a song about global warming that reached children on five continents.
According to the release, Giacomazzi is the fourth generation to manage Giacomazzi Dairy, a family farm of 900 cows and 600 acres, which has operated at the same location in Hanford, Calif., since 1893.
Giacomazzi approaches his farm as a holistic system, and is continually looking for cultural practices that are sustainable both environmentally and economically. Working with USDA-NRCS and the University of California, Giacomazzi initiated the first demonstration evaluation of a strip-tillage corn planting system in the Central San Joaquin Valley, and has been experimenting since with different implements, plant varieties and planting configurations to optimize that system.
Strip-tillage is a farming practice that involves tilling in narrow strips rather than disturbing soil in the entire field. This process radically reduces diesel, dust, and particulate emissions as well as fuel and labor costs. For his corn-wheat rotation, Giacomazzi has reduced the annual number of tillage passes for each of his fields from 14 to 2. Giacomazzi has hosted several demonstrations and field days which have led to strip-till adoption in more than 25,000 acres in California, and has participated in numerous studies that will provide a better understanding of the relationship between dairy operations and air and water quality.
Giacomazzi was presented the Conservation Tillage Farmer Innovator Award for 2008 by the University of California and the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service Conservation Tillage Workgroup.
The EPA awards were presented on the agency’s 40th anniversary to help celebrate "40 Years of Environmentalism," the news release said.