Twin-Row Cereal Rye Adds 35-Bushel Advantage in No-Tiller’s Irrigated Corn

Novel use of twin-row cereal rye boosted yields, reduced erosion & made no-tiller more profitable on fewer acres

A sharp pencil and skyrocketing rental rates convinced Greg Keller to cut the size of GK Farms near Monroe, Neb., by more than half in 2014 as the dedicated no-tiller opted to fine-tune the efficiency of his operation. The quest for increased productivity following that decision led him to extensive use of cereal rye cover crops, which have significantly added to the farm’s success over the last 10 years

“Economically, it just made sense to downsize,” Keller says. “Now, we realize farming 1,000 acres can be more profitable than when we were stretched out over 2,300 acres.” 

GK Farms has been 100% no-till since 2000 and typically operates a 70/30 corn and soybean rotation under 5 center-pivot sprinklers plus dryland production in the corners. The Keller family, which includes wife Nikki and son Kole, custom finishes three “turns” of 1,000 hogs each per year, adding to the farm’s bottom line and filling lagoons with a ready source of nitrogen (N) for multiple in-season corn fertigations. The business also custom plants harvesting corn and soybeans for 5 neighboring growers.

In 2023, using all DeKalb products, Keller’s irrigated corn yields behind soybeans ranged from 307 to 323 bushels per acre, and corn-on-corn fields hit the 295-bushel mark. Dryland corn in the corners weathered the season’s extended drought and still made 170 bushels, while many other dryland fields in the county binned only 50 bushels.


SMOOTH RUNNING. Schaffert Chicken Track gauge wheels on Greg Keller’s 40-foot John Deere 1690 CSS drill smooth out

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Dan crummett 0618

Dan Crummett

Dan Crummett has more than 35 years in regional and national agricultural journalism including editing state farm magazines, web-based machinery reporting and has an interest in no-till and conservation tillage. He holds B.S. and M.S. degrees from Oklahoma State Univ.

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