EARLY BEANS. Gregg Sauder’s soybeans, which were planted on April 1, 2022, dealt with frost May 9. “I was nervous, but they came out of it just fine,” Sauder says. He recommends no-tilling soybeans early to take advantage of the longer days, which lead to more pod growth and ultimately up to 15 more bushels per acre. Photo: Gregg Sauder

Tackle No-Till Challenges with Innovative Solutions

Gregg Sauder, who went from self-proclaimed struggling farmer to founder of multiple ag tech companies, shares his philosophical approach to no-till success.

Before launching two revolutionary ag tech companies — Precision Planting and 360 Yield Center — Gregg Sauder was a struggling farmer who became an inventor out of necessity. 

“I was never satisfied with the way equipment ran,” Sauder says. “I’d always be laying out in the driveway with nothing but a vice grip and a crescent wrench, trying to re-shape, re-build and re-weld long before we even had a farm shop.”

The Tremont, Ill., native remembers many sleepless nights spent worrying about a five-figure financial hole and inaccurate planters costing him yield. 

“Lord, I didn’t marry Cindy to bankrupt her,” he recalls praying one night. “I was stressed because I couldn’t figure out how I was going to earn. It wasn’t because I didn’t have energy. I wasn’t generating income, despite working 16-hour days.” 

His prayers were answered in the form of a phone call from Eugene Keeton, inventor of the Keeton seed firmer, the finger pickup corn meter and the brush meter for soybeans. The Kentucky No-Till Legend heard about Sauder’s challenges and said he wanted to pay him a visit.

“I never want my corn to have a bad day…”

Keeton brought his new seed firmer for Sauder to test out. Sauder duct-taped the firmer to one of his row units, and he noticed an immediate improvement in seed-to-soil contact while planting. 

“He told me he had 5 seed firmers,” Sauder says. “I planted that spring with all 5 duct-taped on, and it was amazing.” 

Motivated by Keeton’s…

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Noah Newman

Noah Newman started at Lessiter Media in March 2022 as Associate Editor for No-Till FarmerStrip-Till Farmer and Cover Crop Strategies. He previously worked in broadcast journalism as a sports anchor/reporter for television stations in central Illinois and most recently Jackson, Mississippi, where he was named the state’s sportscaster of the year by the National Sports Media Association. The Cleveland, Ohio, native looks forward to engaging with growers, learning extensively about their operations, and sharing impactful stories with the audience.

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