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No-Till, Double-Cropping Provide Steady Results for Michigan Dairy

Clair Armbrustmacher continues to advance his successful but somewhat solitary no-till system to include twin-row and cover crops.

Every year I tell my friends I hope I make enough this year to farm again next year. So far, so good. Despite what’s going on in the world around us, I feel positive about my farm’s future.

Several strategies keep my farm generally on the right side of breaking even. No-till runs high on that list, as does having enough storage to sit on some grain until the market is right. Switching to twin-row corn and soybeans has increased yields and saved me a fair bit on soybean seed cost. 

I’m one of very few no-tillers in my region. Many here aren’t convinced it’s possible, especially when, like me, they have dairy manure to apply. They say the manure has to be incorporated. I disagree. I used to do some vertical tillage to help the process, but my soils are to the point it’s not necessary anymore. 

My soils are alive and thriving, as proven by many scientific tests and what I can see with my own eyes. They take in water faster than surrounding tilled fields and quickly cycle nutrients. When compared with other Michigan farms by the NRCS, my soils had the highest soil organic matter (SOM) at 4%. Other long-term no-till fields tested at 3.4% and conventionally tilled soils at just 2.1%. 

Check The Specs...

NAME: Clair Armbrustmacher

LOCATION: Clinton County, Mich.

ACRES: 1,200

YEARS NO-TILLING: 34

CROPS: Corn, corn silage, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa

ANNUAL PRECIPITATION: 20-25 inches

PRIMARY SOIL TYPE: High clay, Capac loam…

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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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