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No-Till Trials Zero in on Hybrids, Fertilizer Applications

Getting peak performance in a no-till system goes beyond having the right planter. Sparta, Wis., no-tiller Jim Leverich uses extensive on-farm trials to select the best genetics and fertilizer program for optimum yield potential on his ground.

Sparta, Wis., home to Jim Leverich, No-Till Farmer’s 2022 Conservation Ag Operator Fellow, is not far from the beautiful sandstone bluffs of the Mississippi River. Hugging the west-central part of the state, Leverich’s farm features a range of soils from sandy loam to heavier clay loam soils

The spring of 2022 found Leverich busy custom planting Mustang 4095 corn for a neighbor. As he got started, the row units of his 24-row Case IH 1245 rig set down into a low-growing plant with bright yellow flowers. 

“This is shepherd’s purse. It’s a weed, but it really won’t hurt anything because it’s easy to kill,” he says. “So I don’t mind it — it kind of helps hold the soil in place like a cover crop.”

Leverich no-tills 1,000 acres of corn and soybeans on 20-inch rows, a configuration he settled on after doing years of research while working as an extension agent for the University of Wisconsin. Leverich is planting the neighbor’s corn about 2 inches deep at a population of 28,000, running at 5.6 mph. For his own fields, he uses a variable rate of 26,000-30,000 for the sandier soils and 32,000-33,000 on heavier soils.

Check The Specs...

NAME: Jim Leverich

LOCATION: Sparta, Wis.

ACRES: 1,000

YEARS NO-TILLING: 42 years

CROPS: Corn, soybeans

ANNUAL PRECIPITATION: 38 inches

PRIMARY SOIL TYPE: Sandy loam, clay loam

IRRIGATION: No

LIVESTOCK: No

That’s because the heavier soil can take the dry weather better,” he says.

Leverich generally doesn’t bother with a pre-emerge herbicide…

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Julia gerlach web

Julia Gerlach

Julia Gerlach is Executive Editor of No-Till Farmer. She has a lengthy background in publishing and a longtime interest in gardening and mycology. She graduated with a B.A. in music and philosophy from Alverno College in Milwaukee, Wis.

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