Thirty years ago, a summertime rain could produce huge gullies, badly eroded slopes dotted much of the region, and on average, a Tennessee farmer was losing almost 2,000 tons of soil per year.

But that was before no-till farming.

These days, thanks to extensive work by researchers with the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, and educational forums like the Milan No-Till Field Day, those sights and stats are a thing of the past.

In 2009, more than 70 percent of Tennessee farmers used no-till practices, and an additional 20 percent used some type of conservation tillage. The results can be seen in better production efficiency, cleaner water and air, and drastic improvements in our soils.

When the 30th Milan No-Till Crop Production Field Day rolls around on July 22, most visitors to the AgResearch and Education Center will be familiar with no-till practices, but this event is about more than no-till education. It’s about helping farmers determine the best methods for agricultural production.

“We’re proud of our heritage as the birthplace of Tennessee No-Till,” says Blake Brown, director of the AgResearch and Education Center at Milan, Tenn. “As no-till becomes the conventional tillage method in Tennessee, we hope to continue in the footsteps of those early no-till researchers whose main goal was to help the farmers of this state produce crops more efficiently and economically.”

Visitors to Milan No-Till Field Day will have the opportunity to hear presentations on research involving every major row crop grown in Tennessee, delivered by leading crop experts from across the Mid-South.

Tours will also feature workshops on weed, insect and disease management. Plus, sessions will be offered on topics like financial planning and emerging biofuels markets.

In addition to the array of educational tours, visitors can also enjoy a large tradeshow or a walk through the West Tennessee Agricultural Museum, which features more than 20,000 agricultural antiques.

As always, the field day will be held at the AgResearch and Education Center at Milan. The Milan No-Till Field Day begins at 7 a.m. on Thursday, July 22. Admission is free and open to the public.

For more information, including directions to the AgResearch & Education Center, visit the website: http://milan.tennessee.edu or call (731) 686-7362. You can also check out the Milan No-Till page on Facebook for the latest updates.

The UT AgResearch and Education Center at Milan is one of 10 outdoor laboratories operated by the Tennessee Agricultural Experiment Station system as part of the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture. In addition to its agricultural research programs, the UT Institute of Agriculture also provides instruction, research and public service through the UT College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, the UT College of Veterinary Medicine, and UT Extension offices in every county in the state.