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Book, CD goes below surface of conservation tillage

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Written Tuesday, February 17, 2004  

Any farmer using or considering adopting a conservation tillage system has two excellent resources available from MidWest Plan Service (MWPS), a national university-based organization that develops agricultural publications.

The book, "Conservation Tillage Systems and Management: Crop Residue Management with No-till, Ridge-till, Mulch-till and Strip-till" (second edition) has been expanded to 270 pages and provides information for corn, soybean, wheat and cotton farmers. The new Conservation Tillage CD-ROM includes the entire book, plus four smaller books, video clips, and PowerPoint presentations in an easy-to-use format.

According to Randall Reeder, an Ohio State University Extension agricultural engineer, these resources from MWPS are an excellent value for those interested in learning more about conservation tillage, a production system that provides a variety of benefits including soil erosion management, water conservation, improved soil tilth, lower input costs and labor efficiency.

Among the book's 29 chapters are sections devoted to:

Crop response to tillage systems.

Costs and returns.

Wind and water erosion.

Crop residue and irrigation water management.

Water quality.

Nutrient management.

Weed, insect, rodent and disease management.

Precision agriculture.

Residue management at harvest.

Estimating residue cover.

Soil compaction.

Controlled traffic.

Converting CRP to crop production.

The book also includes information that explains tillage system selection and describes no-till planting equipment, ridge-till planting equipment, no-till drills, row-crop cultivators and pesticide application equipment. Approximately 120 line drawings and color photographs, along with 72 tables, enhance the text and provide visual examples of the book's main points.

"Conservation Tillage Systems and Management" was prepared under the direction of the MWPS Crop Production Committee, chaired by Reeder. More than 60 nationwide university and industry specialists including agricultural and biological engineers, Extension specialists, conservationists, entomologists, plant pathologists, weed and soil scientists, and agronomists contributed to the publication.

Reeder said the new Conservation Tillage CD-ROM, which was produced in cooperation with the Conservation Tillage Information Center (CTIC) and John Deere, has many high-tech features that make it an ideal companion for the print version of the book.

"It is amazing how much we were able to pack onto one CD," Reeder said. "We added two new chapters on precision agriculture. We also added four smaller books, totaling 101 pages, about soil quality, economics of environmental practices, plant biotechnology, and the history of no-till.

"The CD includes 14 PowerPoint presentations. There are several short video clips, typically 10 to 45 seconds. Also included are six historic movie clips of the Dust Bowl and one on water erosion. This is a valuable resource for farmers, consultants and educators."

"Conservation Tillage Systems and Management" is available for $25 per copy. The CD-ROM also is $25. If ordering both book and CD, the price is $35. Shipping and handling is $5.50 for single copies shipped in the United States.

Orders can be placed with MWPS by phone at (800) 562-3618, by fax at (515) 294-9589, by e-mail at mwps@iastate, edu or by mail by writing to MWPS, 122 Davidson Hall, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50011-3080. For online orders, visit the catalog section of the MWPS Web site http://www.mwpshq.org .

Payment can be made with Visa and MasterCard. Checks should be made payable to MWPS.

If ordering multiple copies, contact MWPS for shipping rates and possible quantity discounts.

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