The latest developments in no-till crop management will be showcased during the No-Till Crop Production Field Day on July 24 at the University of Tennessee Research and Education Center at Milan. This will be the 25th anniversary of the event, known the world over for its prominence in the research and development of no-till agricultural practices.

Thousands of farmers, agribusiness representatives, and other interested participants are expected to turn out for the field day and for the associated community activities including the No-Till Antique Tractor and Engine Show and the National Cotton Women's Committee cotton fashion show and luncheon.

In addition to the usual discussions of advancements in row crop production, the featured topic will be the production and management of switchgrass as an energy crop. University of Tennessee experts from a variety of departments, including biosystems engineering and plant pathology and soil sciences, will be on hand to explain the latest information and technologies.

Sponsored by the University of Tennessee Agricultural Experiment Station, the event will feature at least 12 in-depth tours of active research plots and projects, covering topics involving soybean and corn production, to weed control, switchgrass storage and more.

An overview tour of the center will also be available to visitors during the field day. This riding tour will highlight the various research projects being completed at the Milan Research and Education Center.

“The Milan No-Till Field Day is an opportunity to showcase a portion of the work we are doing. It allows crop-growers and community members to learn how to use the no-till method,” said Blake Brown, director of the center.

“There are many benefits to no-till, the main one being a decrease in rates of soil erosion. But the most recently recognized benefit is the decrease in fuel usage. Not tilling the soil allows crop growers to make fewer trips across the land, which ultimately decreases the amount of fuel they use each season. And, because of the price increase of fuel over the past few years, the no-till method can save growers money.”

No-till was started during the 1960s, during a time when west Tennessee had the highest rate of soil erosion in the country. Crop growers lost tons of topsoil annually, and they needed a way to keep topsoil in the field, instead of allowing it to be carried off into streams and rivers. After the no-till technique was established, other benefits were discovered. Growers spend less time in the fields, and there is not as much wear and tear on equipment.

The Milan No-Till Crop Field Day allows people to see how the no-till technique began, and what researchers are doing to make it even better for today's growers.

For more information about the field day and associated community events, go to the Web site: http://milan.tennessee.edu/ or call (731) 686-7362.