Feeding Worms, Microbial ‘Livestock’ Transforms No-Till Fields

In hilly south-central Pennsylvania, Dave McLaughlin finds no-till, extensive cover cropping and manure application keys soil health success.

When Dave McLaughlin took over his wife's family farm in 1994, he decided to take the conservation-tillage practices his father-in-law implemented a little farther.

He started by no-tilling his forage seedings and small grain crops. By 1999 the entire farm had been transitioned to no-till.

While the timesaving benefit of no-till was McLaughlin’s original motive for parking his moldboard plow, the practice has taught him to view farming as a system that feeds the soil…

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Laura barrera

Laura Barrera

Laura Barrera is the former managing editor of No-Till Farmer and Conservation Tillage Guide magazines. Prior to joining No-Till Farmer, she served as an assistant editor for a greenhouse publication. Barrera holds a B.A. in magazine journalism from Ball State University.


The National Strip-Tillage Conference returns August 3-4, 2023! Build and refine your strip-till system with dozens of new ideas and connections at the 10th anniversary National Strip-Tillage Conference in Bloomington, Ill., Aug. 3-4, 2023. Experience an energizing 2-day agenda featuring inspiring general session speakers, expert-led Strip-Till Classrooms and collaborative Strip-Till Roundtables. Plus, Certified Crop Adviser credits will be offered.

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