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ACCURATE SEEDING. Exapta UniForce hydraulic down pressure on each row unit and an electronic scale on Don Tilton’s 1990 John Deere air seeder have helped ensure wheat, cover crops and, more recently, camelina are seeded precisely. The 24-row John Deere 1770 planter also features swath control, air-assist row cleaners and hydraulic closing wheels. Don Tilton

No-Till, Biologicals Save Money on Dryland Acres

Soil testing, cover crops & biological products maximize the nutrients in the soil available to the cash crop

I don't care how many hours it takes as long as it gets done. That’s the work strategy that I grew up with and one I think is extremely common in the farming community. We pride ourselves on how hard and how many hours we can work, but at what cost

Too often we as farmers don’t properly value our time, especially when we’re younger. With age comes the appreciation that time comes at a cost, and it’s a finite resource. Saving my time and improving my quality of life were the driving reasons that I pushed for the move to no-till on our farm in Quinter, Kan. I wanted to work smarter. It didn’t seem like living my life on the tractor was a smart use of my time.

Ditching conventional tillage wasn’t a unanimous decision. I started no-tilling on my own land, and eventually my dad came around. Now he would have a lot of questions if I hitched onto a tillage implement. 

His tune changed because he saw the results. We gained time and became more efficient financially and in the field. As we came to understand the system and its relation to moisture conservation — the major limiting factor for our dryland western Kansas operation — we did away with fallow resulting in more crop acres. We added even more acres, nearly doubling the operation without increasing labor needs. 

Check The Specs...

NAME: Don & Charla Tilton

LOCATION: Quinter, Kan.

YEARS NO-TILLING: 20

CROPS: Corn &amp…

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Martha mintz new

Martha Mintz

Since 2011, Martha has authored the highly popular “What I’ve Learned About No-Till” series that has appeared in every issue of No-Till Farmer since August of 2002.


Growing up on a cattle ranch in southeastern Montana, Martha is a talented ag writer and photographer who lives with her family in Billings, Montana.

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