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Change can be difficult, especially if you’re bull-headed. Just ask Dale Macheel, who says he tends to be stubborn, just like most farmers. But it can also be fun, he says, a mindset he’s embraced while adopting conservation practices on his 2,500-acre cash grain operation in Randolph, Wis.
Just 5 years ago, Macheel, who has been farming since 1971 on and around the family farm where he grew up, was following the customary farming practices of the region — disc ripping in the fall and field cultivating in the spring. But his operation, which he farms with his son, Jonathan, is almost completely no-till now. He plants cover crops on all his acres and even plants green.
“We’re not 100% no-till. But we sold the disc ripper, and the only tillage we do is to incorporate cover crop seed in the fall,” he says.
Macheel attributes his change in attitude in part to former NRCS soil scientist Ray Archuleta, who spoke at a Wisconsin Land & Water Conservation Assn. conference several years…