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There are countless times when Ross Bishop, a no-tiller in Jackson, Wis., experienced a test of faith with no-till. Over the last 24 years, he’s managed drought, flooding, water contamination concerns, late frosts, cover crops that didn’t die and more. Throughout it all, he’s continued to preach the benefits of no-till to other farmers and neighbors in his community.
“You have to have faith and the confidence that no-till is going to work out in the long term,” Bishop says.
At his location about 30 minutes north of Milwaukee, Bishop runs about 700 acres with the help of his wife, Marcy, and Stephanie Egner, a conservation technician with the Washington County Land Conservation Department. Their fields have been 100% no-till since 1997.
They typically plant 200-240 acres of corn, 300 acres of soybeans, 115 acres of wheat, some rye and a few acres of hay for horses. Plus, they raise 100 Black Angus cattle.
As a no-tiller, Bishop saves on labor, costs and time. He doubled his acres when he switched to no-till, but he also spends less time and money on working the ground. He estimates he saves $150 an acre on inputs because no-till and cover crops build healthier soil. Just this year, he applied 145 units of nitrogen on a field planted with kale and turnips. At harvest, the field was producing 230-240 bushels of corn.
The time savings allow Bishop to spend more time managing his cattle and with his family. He also invests…