August 11, 2013

Cooperative Extension offering no-till seeder

WEST CHAZY — Clinton County farmer Sam Dyer is looking at adding options to corn silage for his dairy herd’s diet.

Corn is a very expensive crop to harvest and often produces discouraging results, particularly during an exceptionally wet season like the North Country has battled through this summer.

Dyer is testing a new option this summer by planting one of his historically less-productive fields with sorgum. He also planted the seeds using an innovative procedure called no-till drilling that distributes seeds quickly without having to till the soil.

“We’ll know (how successful the new crop is) when we test it in the fall, if it provides enough energy,” Dyer said during a recent workshop at his Duquette Road farm where area farmers learned about the potential no-till seeding can provide to them and their businesses.

Helps protect lake

“We’re taking a look at lake-friendly farming activities, things farmers can do to protect the lake,” said Peter Hagar, agriculture program educator for Cooperative Extension of Clinton County, in describing a series of workshops being held this summer for the region’s farmers. “Today, our focus is on no-till drilling.”

The Clinton County Soil and Water Conservation District  has purchased a 10-foot no-till drill, which is used to spread seeds on pasture lands without first tilling the soil. The equipment was purchased with financial support from the Lake Champlain Basin Program.

Dyer purchased his own no-till drill several years ago and has been using it for the more difficult pastures where he has in the past had difficulty plowing because of excess rocks and stones in the fields.

With the no-till method, those obstacles do not have to be removed, he noted.

The technique also cuts down on the amount of time needed to prepare a field for seeding, and it cuts down on the amount of fuel needed to plow as well as the number of headaches caused by traditional methods, Dyer joked.

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