Wilkin County Soil Health Demonstration Site

Goals & Objectives 
  • Goal 1 (Management Systems): Establish a minimum of six demonstration plots to compare the impacts of conventional tillage, strip-tillage and no-tillage, with and without cover crops, on soil health.
  • Goal 2 (Monitor & Measure): Annually monitor the physical, chemical, and biological properties of the soil, along with the soil moisture within every plot to measure soil health changes/trends.
  • Goal 3 (Economics): Quantify and communicate the risks and returns, for each management system, to help farmers better understand input costs and profits for each.
  • Goal 4 (Education): Hold a minimum of one field day annually for the public to increase adoption of soil health promoting practices.
  • Goal 5 (Information Gaps): Work with soil health researchers and agency partners to identify research gaps and incorporate activities/measures where practical and feasible.
Overview of the Demo Site
  • This field has been farmed by the Johnson family for 40+ years using conventional tillage
  • This will be a 5 year demonstration site 
  • The 60 acre field will be split into 3 - 20ac. Tillage Treatments
1) No-Till
2) Strip-Till
3) Conventional Tillage
  • Each tillage treatment will be split in half with cover crops vs no cover crops, giving us a total of 6 different plots to analyze 
  • Current Crop Rotation
      Year 1) 2021 Corn
      Year 2) 2022 Sugar Beets
      Year 3) 2023 Corn
      Year 4) 2024 Soybeans
      Year 5) 2025 Wheat 



What Are We Monitoring?

We want this site to be as realistic as possible. Vance will be farming each of these tillage treatments just like he would any other cash crop except for the fact that we will be closely monitoring each tillage treatment and how it changes over the 5 years. We will be monitoring a few things more in-depth than others but we will have data on all inputs to this field. 

The three things we will be closely monitoring are:

1) Soil

2) Soil Moisture

3) Economics

For more information on each of these items just click on the link or find the tab in the left column.



Upcoming Events

Sharing what we learn at this site is very important to us. We will be hosting at least one field day a year in July. At this field day we will be presenting the data we have collected from previous years along with what this site is teaching us about applying conservation tillage to a clayey soil. 

The Field Day will be July 10th, 2024 from 9:30am-2pm. There is no cost to attend the event and if you are planning on joining us for lunch please RSVP to the Wilkin SWCD. See the Wilkin County Soil Health Demonstration Site Field Day flyer at the bottom of the page for more information. 



Want More Information?

If you would like more information on this site please don't hesitate to contact us. 


Wilkin SWCD

218-643-2933 Ext. 3