This training series provides an introduction to the knowledge, skills, and abilities to plan, design, and install Residue and Tillage Management, No Till (CPS329). Additional training may be needed.

Practice Specific
Training Type
Online Learning

United States


1. Knowledge of State's Crops and Cropping Systems

Title Description
Soybean Variety Selection What criteria should you use when selecting a soybean variety? How do the economics pencil out for different soybean maturities in your area? What disease traits should you be on the lookout for? Learn more through a discussion of these questions and trial results with Dr. Seth Naeve, Extension soybean agronomist and Dr. Dean Malvick, Extension plant pathologist.
Corn Hybrid Selection What criteria should you used when selecting a corn hybrid? How do hybrid maturities affect your bottom line? What about hybrid selection and disease resistance?  Watch the recording for answers to these questions and hybrid trial results with Dr. Jeff Coulter, Extension corn agronomist, Tom Hoverstad, Researcher from Southern Research and Outreach Center and Dr. Dean Malvick, Extension plant pathologist.
Soybean crop management in Wisconsin (soybeans, part 1/3) (Time: 12:35) This video discusses components contributing to yield in soybeans including varietal selection, regional climate and fertilization.
Vegetative Growth Stages of Soybeans (soybeans 2/3) (Time: 16:39) This video focuses on the early season growth and development of soybeans
R Stages, Soybean Management in Wisconsin (soybeans 3/3) (Time: 17:42)  This video focuses on the reproductive stages of growth and development of soybeans.
Forages This website provides information on variety selection, growing, harvest and storage, planting and pest management for forages in Minnesota.
Sugarbeets This website provides information on  growing sugarbeets and pest management for sugarbeets Minnesota.
Small Grains This website provides information on crop and variety selection, growing, harvest and storage, planting and pest management for small grains in Minnesota.
Corn yield in Wisconsin and the US (Corn, part 1/3) (Time:13:41) Dr. Joe Lauer's presentation about "Corn Growth, Development, and Physiology". This part (1 of 3) focuses on an overview of corn yield in Wisconsin and the US.
Corn growth and development staging systems (Corn, part 2/3) (Time 41:01) Dr. Joe Lauer's presentation about "Corn Growth, Development, and Physiology". This part (2 of 3) focuses on systems used to label stages of corn plant development in Wisconsin and the US.
Yield components of corn (corn, part 3/3) (Time 24:02)  Dr. Joe Lauer's presentation about "Corn Growth, Development, and Physiology". This part (3 of 3) focuses on the components that contribute to yield in corn.


2. Knowledge of Soil Health and Management

Title Description
Living Soil Film (Time 1:00:22) Our soils support 95 percent of all food production, and by 2060, our soils will be asked to give us as much food as we have consumed in the last 500 years. They filter our water. They are one of our most cost-effective reservoirs for sequestering carbon. They are our foundation for biodiversity. And they are vibrantly alive, teeming with 10,000 pounds of biological life in every acre. Yet in the last 150 years, we’ve lost half of the basic building block that makes soil productive. The societal and environmental costs of soil loss and degradation in the United States alone are now estimated to be as high as $85 billion every single year. Like any relationship, our living soil needs our tenderness. It’s time we changed everything we thought we knew about soil.
Soil Health (Time: 57:21)  In this session, Dr. Jessica Gutknecht discusses soil health. When you think about the soil beneath your feet, or beneath your tractor, what does it mean for it to be healthy? What does it take for it to be healthy, and what are the results of those efforts? In this talk, we will explore the world below with a brief introduction to soils, how soil structure is built into a healthy soil, and some management options for building a healthy soil. We will also discuss the win-win of soil health for sustainable management and for adaptation to increasingly variable Minnesota weather and climate.
Introduction to Soil Health (Time: 1:50)  Introduction to soil health (1/3) webinars are prerequisites for the Minnesota Soil Health Field Day and Minnesota Soil Health Classroom Training to meet the Soil Health and Sustainability Training requirements of the Apprentice Conservation Planner and Certified Conservation Planner curricula.
Core NRCS Conservation Practices for Enhancing Soil Health (Time: 1:10) This webinar focuses on how several core NRCS conservation practices can be used by farmers to improve soil health, linking them to the four soil health planning principles, i.e. minimizing disturbance, maximizing diversity, keeping a living root growing, and maintaining residue cover.
Pest Management From an Ecological Framework No-till, cover crops, and diverse rotations are well known practices that can improve soil health. While they improve soil quality, these practices can simultaneously help build robust populations of soil invertebrates, including predatory species that can be allies in pest control. Unfortunately, many farmers trying to improve soil health appear to be inadvertently handicapping their farming systems by overusing pesticides, particularly insecticides and fungicides. Fortunately, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) provides an established economic framework for deploying pesticides as necessary. Our research suggests that incorporating IPM alongside other soil health practices maximizes the potential for farm fields to better withstand pest invasion while diminishing the potential for pesticides to degrade benefits provided by soil health practices.
Soil Quality - the Foundation for Resource Management (Time: 1:55)  Participants in the webinar learn about Natural Resources Conservation Service conservation planning principles to improve soil health and the impact soil health has on other resource concerns, such as water quality.
It's All About Carbon: Building a Thriving Soil Biological Community A supplemental video for the 2021 Soil Health and Sustainability. Dennis Chessman of NRCS gives a presentation on Soil Carbon at the 2018 National No-Tillage Conference.
Mitigating Climate Change Through the Soil Carbon Sponge Discovery Farms Programs in Wisconsin and Minnesota are excited to bring to you a virtual conference series this winter. Join us as we cover topics like water quality, soil health, climate change, and more!
MN NRCS Soil Health Training Resources (Time will vary) This is a set of 30+ soil health related training resources that is maintained by MN NRCS.
Unlock the Secrets in the Soil A series of 41 videos, mostly under five minutes each, that discuss various soil health topics and applications of soil health principles.
The Science of Soil Health A series of 34 videos, mostly under five minutes each, that explain and simplify the scientific aspects of soil health.
Building your Soil Structure (Time: 19:45)  Hal Weiser, USDA, discusses how to improve soil structure and soil biology to maximize crop production.
Nobel Conference 54 - Living Soil: A Universe Underfoot (2018) Gustavus Adlophus College (St. Peter, MN) hosted the 54th Nobel Conference on the Living Soil: A Universe Underfoot in 2018. This conference invited participants to consider the vast diversity and complexity of soil, and to ponder the challenges we face in protecting this most fundamental resource. Playlist includes all of the speaker presentations and panel discussions held during the two day conference.


3. Ability to use current Wind and Water Erosion Prediction Tools

Title Description
Erosion 101 This training module focuses on the types of erosion and the resource concerns associated with erosion.  It orients participants to the types and processes of soil erosion to prepare them to utilize the current soil erosion models - RUSLE2 and WEPS.   
Water Erosion Prediction with RUSLE2 This course provides an overview of the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE), and instructions on how to use the RUSLE2 model to estimate sheet and rill erosion.
Wind Erosion Prediction with WEPS This course provides an overview of the Wind Erosion Prediction System (WEPS), and instructions on how to use the WEPS model to estimate wind erosion.
Using RUSLE2 to Evaluate Soil Health Planning Principles Nearly all NRCS field offices and many conservation partners use RUSLE2 for conservation planning. This webinar will provide participants a better understanding of the NRCS soil health planning process and how adjustments made within RUSLE2 directly relate to implementing a Soil Health Management System. The link between NRCS’ four soil health planning principles (minimize disturbance, maximize diversity, keep a living root growing, provide soil cover) and the Soil Tillage Intensity Rating, Soil Conditioning Index, tillage operations, vegetation, growth curves, residue type, climate impacts, and other data used in RUSLE2 will be explored. RUSLE2 worksheets and graphs to compare systems and soil health outcomes will also be presented. Understanding RUSLE2 management inputs and how they relate to soil health and reduce erosion will better prepare conservation planners to assist farmers seeking NRCS help with erosion control and applying a Soil Health Management System.


4. Knowledge of Tillage Systems used in the State

Title Description
Farming Implements in Action: Impacts on the Soil, Erosion Potential of Tillage Systems, and Economics This webinar goes into the details of the five soil disturbing processes modeled in RUSLE2 (inversion, mixing, mixing with some inversion, lifting/fracturing, and compression). A video of a tillage implement in action for each of the processes is shown and discussed. The effects of the tillage types are demonstrated and discussed in a comparison between a conventional, reduced-till, and no-till corn/soybean rotation. Finally, the webinar ends with a very brief discussion of the economic factors that one should consider in making the move from a conventional to reduced-till or no-till system.

This webinar was offered on-demand only to accommodate the use of videos. The videos are provided separately below for anyone having issues with the recording of this webinar.
Tillage Implements A review of tools for estimating erosion, primary and secondary tillage equipment, and the effects of the equipment on erosion calculations, SCI and STIR.
Tillage Implements This course will review tillage calculation tools, primary tillage implements, and secondary tillage implements used in a corn/soybean setting.


5. Knowledge of No-Till Planters and Drills

Title Description
Seeding and Planting Equipment This course will review seeding and planting equipment used in a corn/soybean setting.
Seeding and Planting Equipment This course will review seeding and planting equipment used in a corn/soybean setting.
Coverting Your Planter for No-Till Operation Series of 11 short videos highlighting various aspects of no-till planter set up (Iowa Learning Farms)
Myron Sylling & No-till Planter Set-up (SE MN) Myron Sylling, a southeastern Minnesota farmer, describes how he sets up his no-till planter (Land Stewardship Project)


6. Knowledge of Crop Residue Management

Title Description
Residue and Tillage Management in Organic Farming Systems: Central States Decreasing tillage and maximizing plant residue are important practices to improve soil health and reduce erosion. In many organic farming systems these practices can be challenging to implement due to the use of tillage for weed control. Several Iowa organic producers will be interviewed about their management practices to maximize soil health and reduce erosion. Join this webinar for a discussion of these challenges and opportunities in the context of organic farms in Central states.
No-tilling Through High Residue Conditions High biomass cover crops are a key to improving soil health, with many farmers growing an additional 10,000 lbs. or more of plant material resulting in a thick (>6") layer of mulch. These conditions require a different strategy for planting to ensure good seed to soil contact. This webinar will cover adjustments to planter, drills and other equipment to ensure good seed to soil contact.
No-till Residue Management The benefits of crop residue on the field can be maintained without being an obstacle to successful no-till planting (Penn State Extension)


7. Knowledge of Soils and Soil Management for No Till

Title Description
Nutrient Management in No-Till Cropping Systems (Time: 1:30:56)  This video compares conventional and no-till cropping systems in regards to nutrient management, nutrient cycling, contamination pathways and covers specific considerations for nutrient management in no-till cropping systems.
Managing Cover Crops and No-till to Reduce Pest Problems This webinar is the second in a series to help producers and conservationists determine what can be done to manage the habitat of potential pest. Timing of cover crop termination, use of "rotary hoes", and other simple tips that can help discourage pest like voles, slugs and army worms will be covered.


Updated: 1/26/2023