In this “tongue-in-cheek look at tillage practices, it seemed like Plowboy Pete was always in trouble while No-Till Ned never seemed to do any wrong.

When we produced a magazine in 1972, 1973 and 1974 (before switching to a newsletter format due to limited no-till advertising support), these two characters appeared in most issues as a fun means of educating farmers — in a neighborly way — on the upstart no-till practice.

Readers who wrote the winning captions were treated to a free dinner for four at the restaurant of their choice with No-Till Farmer picking up the tab. Our cost for most of the free dinners in the early ’70s ranged from $28-$60. However, we always felt one winner took advantage of the free dining experience when his bill topped $325 mark — more than $2,000 in today’s dollars.


“PETE, with all the weeds growing in your fence row, it looks like you’ve created your own version of the Berlin Wall.”


“PETE, I certainly hope your soil that’s washing over into my no-till field has a lot of fertilizer in it.”


“PETE, you need a 150-horsepower tractor to pull both your 8-bottom plow and combine.”


“PETE, we could sure use a nice rain shower, right?”


“PETE, even your corn is rooting for no-till.”


"PETE, you’d better head to the no-till meeting in Hawaii, so both you and your corn fields can wear a grass skirt next year.”


“PETE, you always seem to plow the year around, making dead furrows wherever you go.”


“PETE, you were just voted the ‘man of the year’ by the local farm equipment dealers.”


“PETE, don’t sweat the fuel shortage with all your farm machinery as you can switch to steam and use all those weeds for fuel.”

The No-Till History Series, appearing throughout 2023, is supported by Montag Mfg. For more historical content, including video/multimedia, visit

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