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The Benefits Of Tilling Farm Fields

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By Brandon Redmond

Twin Falls, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KTWT-TV ) Getting ready for the new planting season means it's time to do something with last year's crop stubble.

"Generally when producers burn a field, they are trying to get rid of the stubble without having to do a tillage practice. A lot of times they'll burn off a grain field and they'll want come back in and till alfalfa right back into that without having to till the field," said Steve Hines with the University of Idaho Extension Office.

Burning a field off can have it advantages, particularly if you have a field that has been plagued with problems.

"So there are some advantages to clean up a field. Maybe to take care of some disease or insect problems that might be present in the fields as well," said Steve Hines with the University of Idaho Extension Office.

But experts tell us there is a better option, tilling.

"I think you get a greater benefit by tilling or minimally tilling that residue material back into the field so that can break down. There is certainly some loss when you burn," said Steve Hines with the University of Idaho Extension Office.

Tilling puts organic material back into the soil, something we already lack here in Southern Idaho.

"As a general rule, we advocate that producers try to keep as much as that crop aftermath worked back into the soil as they can. Our areas don't tend to be high in organic material anyway. So the more organic matter we can put back into the soils in the Magic Valley, the better it's going to be," said Steve Hines with the University of Idaho Extension Office.