As No-Till Farmer and the National No-Tillage Conference celebrates its 50th and 30th anniversaries, this year, I wanted to share my introduction to no-till.
Way back in 1968, I was helping my dad, Jack, raise corn on his 3rd generation farm in eastern Iowa (just north of Cedar Rapids).
Dad was a full time County Extension Agent but kept his home farm in the family.
My brother and I worked on the farm to earn money to attend Iowa State University.
Instead of being paid, we were allowed to feed the corn to our 4-H cattle and hogs at no cost; a common arrangement back in those days.
In early May, just as the corn was 2 inches out of the ground, a cloud burst hit and we several inches of rain in just an hour.
The farm had a slight hill and had been conventionally tilled, so the soil was exposed to the elements.
Dad and I walked out in the corn field and found a lot of the topsoil had washed into the ditches and had destroyed the seedlings.
As we looked at the damage, tears ran down my father’s cheeks. This was from a hero who served in the Marines during World War II and survived Iwo Jima.
The only other time I saw my father cry was at his Mother’s funeral.
He said, “Son, we’re going to change how we raise corn.”
Over the winter he bought a Buffalo No-Till planter and the farm was in no-till ever since.
It has been consistently producing some of the highest yields in Delaware County, Iowa, over all of those years.
Dad passed away in 2000, but that farm went into no-till in 1969 until we sold the farm in 2003. Last time I drove by in the winter about 5 years ago, the corn stalks were in the field, so no fall plowing.
Please keep up your very valuable and much needed work!