Join us for a Sustainable Farming Methods Bus Tour

September 2, 2021

A bus tour on Wednesday, September 8th, will highlight sustainable farming methods in southeastern South Dakota.

“I’ve organized some producers that are doing what we would call non-conventional farming methods, or alternative methods, or conservation-type methods in growing soybeans that way,” said Anthony Bly, Extension Soils Field Specialist for South Dakota State University. “We just want to highlight those for soybean growers that are interested or might be thinking about making a change on their farm.”

Tour stops will focus on farming methods that, among other benefits, promote soil organic matter, said Bly, whose expertise includes soil health.

“We’re talking about no-till farming methods, we’re talking about strip-till, we’re talking about nutrient placement possibilities for some of these farmers, the use of cover crops ahead of growing soybeans, the use of cereal rye and grazing that rye first and then planting those soybeans,” said Bly. “[These practices are] probably not what we would think of as the norm, but they’re quickly becoming the norm, I believe.”

Tour participants travel west to east across Minnehaha County, but according to Bly, the array of farming methods and soil types apply to any part of South Dakota’s soybean growing footprint.

“We’re kind of focusing on this part of the state to help farmers see, or to help them make that decision, that their farm isn’t that different and they can do it as well,” he said.

“We’re going to stop at a very successful no-till corn and soybean farm; we’re going to look at their planter and their fertilizer applicator,” said Bly, getting into the specifics of the tour, “then move on to a strip-till farm and kind of do the same thing there, and then stop at a farm where the soils are very tough, Big Sioux River bottom soils. That producer’s doing some wonderful things down there with reduced tillage and no-till.”

“And then we’re going to go onto another farm that’s been using kind of a different fertilizer applicator for many years and using no-till,” he continued. “And then our last stop will be a field that was cereal rye, and the producer grazed that intensively and then planted soybeans into that.”

Tour stops include farmers who successfully put these practices to use, with attention to their bottom line.

“That’s the goal is to help producers become more comfortable with maybe trying these different practices and adopting them,” said Bly, “and to help them realize or recognize or feel better about the fact that they can be profitable using [those practices] as well.”

To participate in the bus tour on Wednesday, September 8th, which begins at 8:30 with coffee and donuts and ends at 12:30 with lunch, register here, or call the South Dakota Soybean office at (605) 330-9942.

Bus tour registration