What I've Learned From No-Tilling: A Fork In The Road: No-Till Wins Out

When minimum tillage failed, wheat producer Dale Schuler realized there was no middle ground. So he committed to no-till and has never turned back.

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NAME: Dale Schuler

LOCATION: Carter, Mont.


ACRES: 16,000

CROPS: Winter Wheat, Spring Wheat

It took me just 2 years of no-tilling only 40 acres of our then 3,000-acre wheat farm to fully sell my father on the idea of no-till.

Initially, he was extremely reluctant. He was absolutely certain the ground would turn to concrete and we wouldn’t be able to grow anything. Our soils are deep, but they’re heavy clay, so it was a valid concern.

But his concerns were proven unfounded, because in a very short period of time, we watched those acres become successful and yield 3 to 5 bushels more than the fields we were tilling.

Seeing that no-till worked completely changed our farming world. We live in what’s known as the Golden Triangle of Montana, a region known for producing massive amounts of wheat. Farm sizes are very large by Midwest standards, usually many thousands of acres.

Having plowing as part of our farm management was time consuming and expensive. No-till let us be much more efficient and, in the long run, more profitable. Fuel is one factor, but so is time with our families.

My grandfather covered 10 acres in a day when he homesteaded our farm in 1917, but now we’re covering 10 acres in 4 minutes. We can get our field work done and still make it home to spend quality time with our families.

I now farm with my brother, Dean, and his son, Dan…

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Martha Mintz

Contributing Editor

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