What I've Learned From No-Tilling: Ending 25 Years Of Part-Time Tilling

Dennis Lundy is getting the full benefit of no-till after tackling no-till alfalfa, finishing a farm-wide conversion that his father started.

Check The Specs...

NAME: Dennis Lundy

LOCATION: Fontanelle, Iowa


ACRES: 2,000

CROPS: Alfalfa, corn, soybeans and winter wheat

No-tilling was a strategy I picked up from my father, but it took me nearly 25 years before I finally went 100% no-till.

For my corn, soybean and wheat acres, no-till was a no-brainer since all our farm ground is highly erodible.

I remember doing tillage as a kid: we would till all the ground, then a heavy rain would come through and we’d have to till again to fix all the washes and ruts.

It was a seemingly endless battle. You just kept going around in circles, really spinning in a downward cycle.

Back In The Family

Adair County, Iowa, is very hilly, with a lot of Shelby-Adair clay soils on the sidehills. The good topsoil was there, but it was getting very thin on the sidehills due to years of both tillage and water and wind erosion affecting our fields.

If we kept going the way we were, there wasn’t going to be any topsoil left. My dad recognized this and started no-tilling in the 1980s. I’m sure he had a few epic failures in those early years, but at that time, we didn’t have the equipment or herbicides that make the transition a lot easier today.

Unfortunately, my father was a victim of the farm crisis and he sold the home farm in 1985. He probably could have made it, but decided he’d had enough and…

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Martha Mintz

Contributing Editor

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