"Among the normal risks of increased soil erosion and loss of moisture, fall tillage could ruin producer's opportunities to quality for the incentive payment that will be offered thru the 2011 EQIP Program," says Renee Braun, District Conservationist for the Cherokee Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)."
Last year and the current projection for the 2011 crop year, is that the EQIP (Environmental Quality Incentives Program) program has a performance step incentive payment for three years for up to 320 acres, for a producer to implement no-till as a component of their farming operation, The no-till practice is scheduled for more than one year and the scheduled years must run consecutively.
Thus, under the EQIP program the practice must be applied annually for a minimum of three years with the fourth year a performance year receiving no incentive payment.It has been well documented that tillage breaks down soil quality, which results in less water infiltration because of less organic matter (carbon), crusting on the soil surface and the collapse of healthy soil structure.
"It is difficult to determine a good reason to till the soil after harvest, especially soybeans fields, "said Renee Braun. With the higher input cost for crop expenses it is well worth the time to investigate no-till as a cost effective conservation measure for the farming operation.
Not only are the number of trips over the field cut by at least three (thereby saving fuel and wear and tear on tractors), but fewer pieces of equipment are needed. If a producer does not want to commit to a full four year commitment under the EQIP Program they can consider the State Of Iowa Cost Share Program offered at the local Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), office which allows for a producer to make an application of up to 50 acres for first time no-till and the incentive payment is for $10/ac.
EQIP is a continuous sign-up and applications are also being accepted by the SWCD for producers interested in making a request for assistance. Applications can be made at the USDA Service Center located at 314 Lake Street in Cherokee. If you have any questions, please call the office @712-225-3769 for additional assistance.