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Microscopic Management Puts No-Tillers on Path to Profitability

Field-level input controls and an interseeding focus South Dakota no-tillers seeking continual improvement.

Alex Frasier and his dad, Jayme, may be the ideal father-son farming duo. Alex, an independent agronomist who also farms when he’s not working his day job, provides know-how on fertility, seeding practices and crop protection. Third-generation farmer Jayme is the mechanic and operator. 

Each of them brings distinct skills and talents to the farm, which grows 900 acres of corn, soybeans and wheat near Faulkton, S.D. the farm has been under no-till management for about 10 years.

Nutrients in the Crosshairs

After he came back to the farm from school, Alex says they followed university fertility recommendations, applying 1.1 pounds of nitrogen (N) per bushel of corn at the time.

Check The Specs...

NAME: Alex & Jayme Frasier

LOCATION: Faulkton, S.D.

ACRES: 900

YEARS NO-TILLING: 10

CROPS: Corn, soybeans, wheat, cover crops

ANNUAL PRECIPITATION: 22 inches

PRIMARY SOIL TYPE: Clay

IRRIGATION: No

LIVESTOCK: No

When they lost some ground, they chose to improve efficiency.

“It’s not easy to add ground right now,” says Alex. “So, we decided to make these acres as efficient as possible and manage them to a tee. A lot of guys will have one fertility blend for their corn or beans. We do every field individually and we’re trying to be microscopic about it. And that’s helped us, as has getting the nutrients in the ground instead of floating them on.”

After tissue and soil tests showed they had excess N, they began reducing it a bit each year. They currently apply about 0.75 pounds…

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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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