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Greg Entinger calls himself an accidental conservationist. When he first started strip-tilling, the grower from New Prague, Minn., wasn’t doing so because he was on the soil health bandwagon
“I was looking at saving money,” he says. “I wanted a one or two-pass system to cut down on time and everything else. I wanted to decrease my equipment size, rather than go bigger. I didn’t want to buy a 500-horsepower tractor.”
Entinger took over the family farm in 2013 after his father passed away and did all conventional farming in 2013 and 2014 on the 1,050 acres split evenly between corn and soybeans.
“I wanted to produce 250-bushels corn,” he says. “I worked with the cooperative to put out enough fertilizer to produce 250 bushels per acre.”
But that goal didn’t pan out. Entinger tried again the following year. After two years of failures, he decided that his soil is incapable of growing 250-bushel corn.
“My soil can do 220 bushels per acre of corn, but not 250,” he says. “So, my mentality changed. I figured out how to make money at 180 bushels instead of losing money at 250 bushels of corn. If I can make money at 180 bushels an acre, and I’m growing 210 bushels an acre, then that’s 30 bushels per acre of profit.”
This shift in mindset means letting go of the ego boost that comes with being the grower achieving the highest yield in the county.
“I’d rather be the guy in…