The Virginia No-Till Alliance in collaboration with Virginia Cooperative Extension and the Natural Resources Conservation Service will host its annual winter conferences on Feb. 4 and 5. Farmers will be able to learn about the latest in no-till and cover crop strategies to improve their profitability.

“No-till farming minimizes susceptibility to erosion, compaction, fertilizer and chemical runoff, and leaching of nutrients,” said Matthew Yancey, Virginia Cooperative Extension agricultural and natural resources agent in Rockingham County. “It is safer for the environment than traditional methods of turning and cultivating soil, while more profitable for the farmer in the long term.”

The conferences will be held Feb. 4 at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds in Harrisonburg, Va., and Feb. 5 at the Olde Dominion Ag Complex in Chatham, Va.

Each day, Dave Brandt, a no-till farmer of more than 1,200 acres in Fairfield County, Ohio, will share his no-till strategies that have helped him successfully reduce input costs through creative cover crop mixes and innovative use of equipment.

At the Harrisonburg conference, Virginia Tech faculty members Hillary Mehl, plant pathology Extension specialist, and Wade Thomason, Extension grains specialist, will address challenges in row cropping, including dealing with disease pressure, and minimizing issues with crop residue, respectively.

In addition, local farmers and crop consultants will provide sessions on innovative cover cropping and how to get good results when establishing small-seeded forages.

In Chatham, Scott Hagood, Virginia Tech professor emeritus of weed science, will present weed management strategies for no-till systems. In addition, Keith Burgess, district manager for the Monacan Soil and Water Conservation Service, will share his experiences with vertical tillage equipment, and Ray Archuleta, conservation agronomist at the National Resources Conservation Service East National Technology Center, will share his enthusiasm for soil health.

Each conference features a trade show where local, regional, and national vendors will display a variety of products and services related to crop production using conservation tillage.

To view a complete schedule for each location and to register, visit the Virginia No-Till Alliance website. The website also includes information about upcoming and past events and information related to no-till and conservation tillage agriculture.

For more information, contact Matthew Yancey (Harrisonburg) at 540-564-3080 or Sean Duff (Chatham) at 540-483-5161.