FAMILY TIME. No-till gives Luke and Holly Bergler more time with daughters Willa (13), Malia (10) and Emery (6).

Getting by with Less is Giving this No-Tiller More to Cheer About

Reducing tillage, slashing nitrogen, cutting seed treatments and opting for untraited corn have savings adding up and profits peaking.

I wanted to no-till. I would search out no-till planters online or in classified ads and just wish. But with only 240 acres, I just couldn’t justify the expense — at least not until a supportive friend stepped in.

My friend, a fellow farmer, knew I’d been looking at no-till planters. He convinced me to look at one he found — a 6-row, 30-inch John Deere 1750 conservation planter — then lent me 60% of the money I needed to purchase it, interest free for 3 years. It was an amazing opportunity brought about by a friend willing to help a guy coming up.  

When it came to decisions, though, I was on my own. My father and I had operated this farm together for about 8 years after we purchased it in 2006. It was full tillage with cattle grazing the perennial pastures. In 2014, Dad wanted to wind down and I was ready to take things to the next level. I took over the farm and suddenly had free agency to experiment. He never held me back, but now there was no extra step of getting another person on board.

Tillage was the first thing I wanted to see go. The farm is in southeast Minnesota on the Mississippi River bluffs. Fields are very rolling with some extreme hillsides. It makes me sick to think of the erosion I witnessed.

Check The Specs...

NAME: Luke Bergler

LOCATION: Ridgeway, Minn.

ACRES: 240


CROPS: Corn, soybeans, alfalfa/grass…

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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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