IN CONTROL. Kentucky no-tiller Tanner Stroup tightens the air control box that controls the downward pressure of his Martin-Till Clean Sweep row cleaners. 2023 was the first year Stroup planted corn with this 24-row John Deere 1775 no-till planter. Photo: Katie Pratt

Timely Moisture, Fertility Win Yield Contests for First Generation No-Tiller

Corn & wheat yield contest winner finds patience & power of observation put him in position to make smart management changes.

Western Kentucky no-tiller Tanner Stroup has a remarkable agriculture story that begins far from his Lewisport roots. While he grew up in Kentucky’s largest row crop region, his immediate family did not farm, and he had no direct connection to farming in the area.

Instead, Stroup’s love of agriculture was cultivated in the wheat fields of Kansas.

Stroup’s parents —the founders of bulk-hauling trucking company First Class Services — sent him west to learn about farming after Stroup expressed interest in agriculture. Beginning when he was 14 years old, Stroup spent several weeks during the summer with his great uncle, Ray Graves, in Anthony, Kan. Graves produces 5,000 acres of wheat and cattle, and it was at Graves’s farm that Stroup learned how to drive a combine.

“I fell in love with agriculture and operating machinery,” Stroup says. “I always looked forward to spending my time there.”

No-Till Takeaways

  • No-till helps manage moisture both in times of excess precipitation and drought. This tried-and-true method of farming positions new farmers for early success.
  • Try new things on small plots. Stroup likes using yield contests to learn about what he can add to increase yields across all farms.
  • Find ways to provide timely moisture to crops, and invest in pivots if necessary.

He returned home knowing that agriculture was going to be his future career. 

“I really enjoy being able to produce something from nothing,” Stroup says.

Early Success

In 2012, Stroup — who was a high school junior at the time…

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Katie Pratt

Contributing Writer

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