Learning from Al-Kaisi: Strip-till and soil health

Strip-tillage is a happy medium between no-till and full tillage. It keeps residue on the soil and also allows for the soil to warm and dry prior to planting. The first annual National Strip-Till Conference will be held this summer in Cedar Rapids on July 30-31.

Mahdi Al-Kaisi and Mark Hanna speak at an early ILF field day in 2005. They will be presenters at the first national strip-till conference in July.

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach soil management specialist Mahdi Al-Kaisi will be one of the keynote speakers at the conference. He is the original Iowa Learning Farms project manager, which started in 2004. Other speakers at the conference include ISU Extension Agricultural Engineer Mark Hanna, a faculty adviser with ILF.

Frank MooreFrank Moore, an ILF farmer partner from Cresco, is one of the practicing strip-tillers who will be presenting. The preliminary agenda is on the website and it looks like there will be a lot of learning opportunities to choose from.

For more information about the inaugural National Strip-Till Conference, visit the No-Till Farmer website.

Soil Health

Also on the No-Till Farmer website, read the article “What is Soil Health and How Can We Improve It?” written by Al-Kaisi. He states in the article, “The underlining principle for a healthy soil is not just a medium to grow plants, but rather a living, dynamic and changing environment that is influenced by what we do and the practices we adopt as human activities.”

Using a suite of practices including no-till or strip-till, cover crops, and extended rotations can help maintain the health of this living environment.

-Carol Brown

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