If you're into reduced tillage of any kind and live anywhere near southeast Indiana, mark March 3, just a couple days away, on your calendar. Plan to be in Ripley County at the Hopewell Baptist Church at 8 a.m. It's the annual no-till meeting, sponsored by soil and water conservation districts in southeast Indiana, and hosted by the Ripley County SWCD.
Besides being famous for great sausage and pancakes, this breakfast features some of the best discussion on no-till you'll find anywhere. Barry Fisher, state resource agronomist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service, will be on hand to facilitate discussion, but he's not the 'star' of the show. The 'stars' are farmers who pose questions so that other farmers in the audience who might have experience with that particular issue can answer the question.
This breakfast has been a hit for nearly two decades. The crowd normally surpasses 200 people. It's open to anyone who would like to attend. You can pay for breakfast at the door, and the cost is minimal. Sponsors who help subsidize breakfast set up displays and will be on hand to answer questions during breaks and before and after the meeting.
Expect real-world questions from real farmers, ranging from how much soil compaction from the fall of 2009 is still affecting the fields to the best type of closing wheel set up to use in no-till planting. Other topics usually include problem weeds, weed control in general, fertility and liming, just to name a few.
The Ripley County SWCD is also sponsoring a cover crop field day one week later, on March 10, at the Laughery Valley Co-op near Osgood. Times were not yet set for that meeting. Speakers will likely include Hans Kok and Dan Towery of the conservation tillage initiative project to increase no-till acres in Indiana.
To learn more about either one of these meetings, contact the Ripley County SWCD at 812-689-6410, extension 3.
If you're attending the breakfast and aren't familiar with the area, directions provided by SWCD staff suggest turning off 421 to the west on the street marked 'Fairgrounds' in Osgood. Proceed to 850 West. Go south on 850 west until you reach the Church, located on the northwest corner of the intersection.