Planting Season Challenges No-Tiller’s Planter, Patience

2023 Conservation Ag Operator Fellow persists through planting problems using highly modified no-till planter & trademark flexible thinking

The 2023 planting season had No-Till Farmer Conservation Ag Operator Fellow Loran Steinlage considering retiring from the day-to-day of farming

“Where I’m at right now, I’m hoping I can find the right partner or person to take over,” says the West Union, Iowa, no-tiller. “I enjoy being out here, but my body’s telling me it’s time to change.”

Steinlage’s Precision Planting 20/20 SeedSense planter system malfunctioned while planting corn in early May, forcing him to stop and get out of the tractor 50 times in one day — a tough ask for someone who had three surgeries over the past winter. While he says he’ll always have a hand in farming, Steinlage is considering the next chapter of his career and the next generation of his farm.


  • Paying attention to the details on the planter is critical. Check for movement in the row unit, distribute weight evenly across the planter, and make modifications appropriate for your soil types and amount of residue.
  • Keep plans flexible during planting season to ensure you’re planting in the best conditions and will be able to properly manage all of your acres throughout the season.
  • Find ways to share your knowledge with other farmers, especially those who are not no-tilling, but don’t try to force or insult someone into change.

“I’m a fortunate guy,” Steinlage says. “My dad stepped out of the way so I could thrive, and that’s what I’m looking at trying to do. I’m never going to try to rule the…

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Michaela paukner

Michaela Paukner

Michaela Paukner is the managing editor of No-Till Farmer, Strip-Till Farmer and Cover Crop Strategies. Her previous journalism experience includes working as a reporter for a legal magazine and as a producer for two Wisconsin TV news stations. She has also worked with clients across the globe as a freelance writer and marketing consultant, and as a brand manager for a Wisconsin-based boutique marketing agency. She's a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

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