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“One of the biggest things I learned in 2021 was we were so dry early. In our area, typically we have too much water in May, and it delays us from planting. I’ve never seen a spring as dry as what we had last year. To the tune where we had winter wheat fields die over Memorial Day weekend.”
-Steve Wilkens

Steve Wilkens farms about 1,000 acres of Wisconsin ground his family has worked since the 1850’s. While the spring he describes in the above quote might seem almost apocalyptic, he turned it around. In 2021, Wilkens recorded a yield of 315.4 bushels per acre, enough to claim second place in the Wisconsin No-Till Non-Irrigated category for the National Corn Grower’s Association Corn Yield Contest.

Wilkens, who works for Syngenta, used a corn hybrid he recognized as part of his non-farming employment to break the 300 bushels per acre barrier. He uses a dated planter and a 2x2 fertilizer configuration to boost his production.

Wilkens’s story is one of several found in the pages of a new special report “No-Till Corn: Pushing the Boundaries of Yield Potential” issued by No-Till Farmer in October, and included as an insert in the October edition of the magazine, which profiles high-performance no-tillers in the National Corn Growers Association Annual Yield Contest.

Wilkens sat down with No-Till Farmer's managing editor, Michaela Paukner, to talk about his approach, and how he overcame the arid 2021 spring to accomplish high returns.

P.S. If you’ve enjoyed this week’s discussion with Steve Wilkens, be sure to check out No-Till Farmer’s newest No-Till Management Report, No-Till Corn: Pushing the Boundaries. This special report offers tips and guidance from growers at or near the height of their talents. Learn what challenges they face, from managing equipment to self-control, and find advice and valuable information to help you reach the same level of success that they have. Visit to learn more and purchase your copy today for just $15.95.


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