By Randall Reeder, OSU Extension Agricultural Engineer (retired)
“Glover, they’re going to fire you.”
The first time Glover Triplett took his wife to see the new no-till research plots in 1962, the corn was about a foot tall, and the ground was littered with dead weeds and corn stalks from the previous year. The plot looked awful compared to a clean tilled field. She was scared he would lose his first faculty position, at OSU-OARDC in Wooster.
Well, he was not fired, and neither was his co-researcher, Dave Van Doren. But they did attract interesting questions about their innovative research, including, “How can you measure erosion if you don’t have any runoff?”
Triplett and Van Doren established identical plots in 1963 at Hoytville (Wood County) and South Charleston (Clark County). All three, at OSU-OARDC research stations, continue to give valuable results today.
No-till was known as “Farming Ugly” in the early days. Farmers were accustomed to perfectly clean fields, not a speck of crop residue. To many, the aroma of freshly plowed soil was sweeter than Chanel No. 5.
After 56 years of no-till at Wooster, the Ohio No-Till (Summer) Field Day will be held there, Aug. 29. The program begins and ends at Fisher Auditorium, 1680 Madison Ave. This is the first time it will be at an OSU site, and the first time in northeast Ohio. The program will be at the historic no-till plots from about 10:00 to noon.
Glover Triplett, still spry at age 88, will be on the program, describing the early obstacles to no-till, plus key discoveries. Others who were early adopters and no-till educators will join him to start the schedule at 9 a.m.
Alan Sundermeier and Rafiq Islam of OSU will present a concurrent session on Measuring Soil Health. The session will focus on the importance of soil health, highlight OSU soil tests, and interpret test results for sustainable agricultural management practices. They will share recently developed soil health management innovations and show farmers new ideas for developing a sustainable soil future. Crop diversity with cover crops is essential to improve soil health.
August 29 Field Day Agenda:
8 a.m.: Registration: (visit exhibitors; donuts & drinks)
8:55 a.m.: Welcome, Jan Layman, President, Ohio No-Till Council
9 a.m.: Early days of No-till; Where are we today? Panel: Glover Triplett; Bill Richards; Don Myers; Bill Haddad; and Dave Brandt
10 a.m.: Drive to the historic plots.
Three presentations by Steve Culman and two grad students on: Grain Yields, and changes in Soil Physical Properties, Carbon and Nitrogen.
(There will be an optional Lab Demonstration on campus)
12:15 p.m. Lunch (Fisher Auditorium)
1-3:45 p.m. Three concurrent sessions (with a Break at 2:30 p.m.).
Session A: Managing Cover Crops: planting green, interseeding, and more. Jim Hershey, President, Pennsylvania No-till Alliance; Transitional no-till — the journey to True No-till.
Jerry Grigar, State Agronomist, USDA-NRCS in Michigan; Panel of all previous
speakers for Q&A.
Session B: This session is being organized by the Wayne SWCD. Two of the topics
will be Preventing Erosion after Soybeans, and Cover Crops for Forage (and erosion control).
Session C: Measuring Soil Health. (described above)
3:45 p.m. Wrap-up
CCA credits will be available.
Registration information (and any program updates) is on our website: OhioNotillCouncil.com. Pay by credit card or check. To register by mail, send a check (payable to Ohio No-till Council) to: Bret Margraf, Seneca Cons. District, 3140 South S.R. 100, Suite D, Tiffin, OH 44883. The cost is $50 by Aug. 22; $65 at the door. (Students, advance registration only, is $25. Include name(s), address, and email/phone.