There's a revolution going on within the agricultural industry. The
leaders are just beginning to emerge and are working with researchers
and other farmers to innovate, experiment, and discover the benefits of not
tilling the soil. One of these emerging leaders is Steve Groff, an
innovator in no-tillage cropping strategies and equipment modifications.
On Saturday, July 19th, 1997 from 10:30am- 3:00pm, his "New Generation
Cropping System" will be showcased at Cedar Meadow Farm, Holtwood, PA.
Groff started no-tilling corn 13 years ago to help curb soil erosion.
The benefits of this practice are continuing to add up over the years, as he
now no-tills all but 1 of his 175 acres. This includes 27 acres of
vegetables. Soil organic matter has increased to 5% in some fields.
Penn State University, in collaboration with the Natural Resources
Conservation Service, and the University of Maryland, are currently doing studies on
the soils at Cedar Meadow Farm to document the positive changes that
have taken place due to not tilling the soil. 12 acres have not been touched
by any tillage implement for over 30 years!
This New Generation Cropping System cuts costs. "We have slashed
our pesticide and fertilizer bill nearly in half, compared to a conventional
tillage system, while building our valuable topsoil and not sacrificing
yields!" quotes Groff.
Long term no-till, cover crops, and crop rotation are the foundation of
this system. The key to making it work is the development of new
equipment and cover cropping strategies. Steve uses a Buffalo rolling stalk
chopper to manage the cover crops in preparation for planting. This year he
modified it by adding parallel linkage to the rollers, giving the
machine more flexibility when encountering rocks and uneven terrain.
The Field Day will start off with a comparative observation of 15" row
field corn and the standard 30" row corn. Last year there was a 9%
increase in yield in this SARE funded research and a noticeable
reduction in weed pressure due to earlier canopy closure. Dr. Greg Roth ;Penn
State Corn Specialist, will be on hand to share his perspective and
experience with 15" corn. Joel Gruver, University of Maryland, will discuss his
research in the area of soil health, including tests at Cedar Meadow
Farm. Highlighting the morning will be a demonstration of the best no-till
drills and planters on the market. Binkley and Hurst Bros.(Case-IH,
Monosem, Buffalo), C.B. Hoober(Case-IH, Krause), Deer Creek
Equipment(Deere), Landis Bros.(Deere), I & J Manufacturing(Truax),and
Triple H Equipment(Vermeer) will be demonstrating their equipment. This
promises to be an extraordinary opportunity to observe no-till planters
in action and compare different brands in 1 field at the same time! Also on
display will be some of the latest no-till planter attachments and GPS
equipment. A food stand will be available for those who wish to buy
lunch. Other Agri-businesses helping to sponsor this event are Gro-Mor Plant
Food Company, Nutrient Solutions in Agriculture, Meadow Green Valley and
Nolt's Produce Supply. Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture
and the Keystone Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society have
also contributed to this event.
The afternoon will be geared towards no-till vegetables. Aref
Abdul-Baki; Agriculture Research Service, USDA , Beltsville, Maryland, will be
reporting on his vegetable research work in the no-till system. An
update on the most recent no-till transplanter developments will be given by
Dr. Ron Morse; Virginia Tech. Ed Beste, University of Maryland, will
discuss why all their pumpkin research is done in the no-till system. Following
a demonstration of the rolling stalk chopper in forage soybeans, the no-
till vegetable transplanter will plant broccoli into this field. The
other no-till planters will again be demonstrated in the afternoon.
" We are planning for this event to be informative and educational for
farmers and researchers alike", states Groff, "but it is also designed
to be family-friendly, with videos, cart rides, and other activities for
Increasing interest has led Steve to create a website: http://www2.epix.net/~cmfarm/,
and produce a video: "No-till Vegetables; A Sustainable way to Increase Profits,
Save Soil, and Reduce Pesticides".
To order a copy, contact Groff at: 679 Hilldale Road, Holtwood, PA 17532.
Phone: (717) 284-5152. E-mail: email@example.com. Credit cards accepted.
This Field Day will provide an opportunity to come and see first-hand
the benefits of this new way of farming.
-- "New Generation Cropping Systems": the cutting edge of sustainable agriculture http://www2.epix.net/~cmfarm/ Steve Groff Cedar Meadow Farm 679 Hilldale Rd Holtwood PA 17532 USA Ph. 717-284-5152