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Fewer, Faster Passes and Better Soil

No-till, cover crops, combining tools and investing in fast equipment keep this Delta no-tiller trimming expenses and building soil health.

NO-TILL TAKEAWAYS

  • Don’t let a problem like slugs deter you from minimizing tillage — adjust your system to find what works.
  • A little creativity and work in the shop can stack multiple field passes into one cost-effective pass.
  • Adding speed to our system with new technology allows us to take full advantage of perfect planting condition days.

Bedded crops, furrow irrigation and slugs — especially slugs — are all valid reasons for me to till, till, till. But I don’t. 

I’ve seen what unnecessary tillage can do to our sandy-loam soils and what those same soils can achieve when managed in a way that promotes their function. Now I disturb the soil where I must, maintain no-till where I can and use cover crops to secure and quickly rehabilitate disturbed soils. 

My father, Mike, and I raise corn, soybeans, cotton and peanuts in the Mississippi Delta. Crops are grown on 60-inch beds to accommodate furrow irrigation and, in the case of cotton, to move excess water away from the growing plants. Traditionally, this required multiple trips with heavy, expensive equipment to manage fields. 

Now I’m able to invest the money I no longer use on operating that equipment to purchase equipment that truly benefits my cropping system, like our new John Deere DR16 high-speed planter with the ExactEmerge system. 

Ground Down

Many who have shifted their views on tillage have had a resolve-galvanizing moment. For my family it came in 1993. High spring winds whipped up loose, tilled sandy soil…

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Martha mintz new

Martha Mintz

Since 2011, Martha has authored the highly popular “What I’ve Learned About No-Till” series that has appeared in every issue of No-Till Farmer since August of 2002.


Growing up on a cattle ranch in southeastern Montana, Martha is a talented ag writer and photographer who lives with her family in Billings, Montana.

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