By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Services
Planting no-till can be tricky and scary! Successful no-till depends on having fully functioning healthy soils and efficient nitrogen (N) recycling. Fully functioning soils have higher soil organic matter (SOM) especially the active carbon, sugars, and root exudates from live roots that allows the soil to crumble. This leads to good soil structure, improved drainage, increases water infiltration, and higher soil gas exchange. This aerobic (more oxygen) environment plus the food source (live cover crop (CC) roots) changes the microbial community from one dominated by bacteria (conventional soils, often anaerobic (no oxygen)) to a balanced system with beneficial fungi (mycorrhizal), good nematodes, healthy aerobic bacteria, and protozoa. The “no-till time line” or transition period is often 3-7 years depending upon how fast and aggressive cover crops, continuous no-till, and manure have been used to promote a fully functioning healthy soil.
Soybeans are hardy, easy, and most simple crop to no-till.