MSU researcher is seeking farmers who now practice Zonal Management or Ridge Tillage and may want to work with her and her lab team.
If you are not sure what this is then read on… If you are interested in possibly participating then please read on too!!
If you use this practice and are interested in participating then please contact Dan Kane, a graduate student at Michigan State in the Crop and Soil Science Department in Professor Sieg Snapp's lab. They are beginning a new project this summer to evaluate the soil health benefits of zonal management and are searching for organic or sustainable farms in Michigan using zonal management to include as part of our study.
You ask, What is zonal management?
While conventional systems require tilling up the entire field, zonal management systems divide a field into zones that are managed/tilled independently. Typically, one zone of the soil in a row is tilled and planted, while an adjacent zone is managed in a way that protects the soil, such as planting it with a cover crop or leaving it un-tilled. Protecting the soil in that second zone can conserve soil organic matter and nutrients, benefiting the health of the field overall and increasing carbon storage.
Zonal management includes strip tillage, mulch tillage, and ridge tillage systems. We're particularly interested in farms doing ridge tillage. Attached is a picture of what a ridge-till field might look like, and below is a link to a YouTube video explaining a ridge-till system used in a Cornell University study.
To see the video then copy this address (both lines without spaces) into your browser to view the YouTube video:
So, if you or any farmer you know is using zonal management techniques in MI (or anywhere else in the Upper Midwest), please contact me at [log in to unmask] or call at (269) 671-2172.
Have a great day!
C. S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems
Outreach Specialist for Organic Vegetable and Field Crops
303 Natural Resources
East Lansing, MI 48824
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