“If I'm not trying something new, then that means I'm standing still. And that means my neighbors are starting to adopt new technology, and I'm going to get left in the dust…”— Marion Calmer, no-tiller and owner of Calmer Ag Research Center and Calmer Corn Heads, Alpha, Illinois
Marion Calmer is a well-known name in agriculture. Currently no-tilling about 1,000 acres of corn and soybeans in Alpha, Illinois, Calmer conducts scores of practical on-farm research projects every year, insisting on field-size replicated plots that run entire field lengths in widths that match his regular production machinery.
His research has led him to some surprising conclusions, such as his findings that low soybean populations yield as well as high populations do and spreading phosphorus and potassium on the surface of the ground doesn’t pay. He’s also the brains behind Calmer Corn Heads and Bt chopping stalk rolls, inventions he developed after research showed a benefit to 15-inch corn rows.
In this episode of the No-Till Farmer Influencers & Innovators podcast, editor Frank Lessiter talks with Marion about the discoveries he’s made in his nearly 4 decades of no-tilling, including why he says no-till offers at least a $50 per acre advantage over tillage, what he considers his biggest mistakes early on, his thoughts on getting P & K deeper into the soil profile, plans for capitalizing on the $4 return he gets for every $1 of applied nitrogen, and much more.
P.S. There’s lots more great no-till stories and history in Frank Lessiter’s new book, From Maverick to Mainstream: A History of No-Till Farming. Check it out here.
No-Till Influencers & Innovators podcast series is brought to you by Montag Manufacturing.
Montag Manufacturing is your fertilizing equipment specialist. Offering dry, liquid and complete fertilizer systems as well as auto-steer carts, Montag’s precision fertilizer-placement solutions will reduce your rate, increase your yield and assist your stewardship goals. Visit them at montagmfg.com.