Goodbye to the plow and harrow - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Goodbye to the plow and harrow

Tillage Specialist John Bradley Tillage Specialist John Bradley

August 28, 2003

Terrell County-- South Georgia farmers got a lesson in the farming of the future today. Conservation tillage is a planting technique that is catching on, because it can mean greater profits for the farmer.

A monster tractor demonstrates strip tillage. Instead of cleaning up after the last crop grown in the field, only a small piece of the soil is tilled up to plant the next crop there. The rest of the field is not disturbed.

Conservation tillage is gaining rapid acceptance, because it can save money, says Tillage Specialist John Bradley- "Farmers cut out $25 to $35 worth of tillage , or four or trips preparing the soil. Where we do it in one pass with the strip till situation, and we plant it all in one pass."

Nearly half the cotton in Georgia is already strip tilled, but only 2 percent of the peanuts use the conservation method. Experts showed South Georgia farmers that strip tilling will work for peanuts too.

Bradley said "We are getting really consistently, nine out of ten times, higher yields in strip till peanuts. The soil actually falls off the peanuts, they are cleaner. You get a better grade from the strip till peanuts."

South Georgia farmers already using conservation tilling say it works. Farmer Brian Goolesby said "It cuts down on your labor. It cuts down on your cost per acre of diesel, and it cuts down on your erosion on your land. Time savings getting across your land."

The new farm bill pays growers to use the new conservation tillage method. More and more are expected to change the way they plant, to increase their profits.

The first Conservation Tillage Day brought 80 farmers from across South Georgia to the South Pointe Plantation in Terrell County.

posted at 4:00PM by dave.miller@walb.com