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Cashing In On No-Till

Custom seeding and direct payments are helping growers give new systems a try.

When it comes to serving a specific cropping niche, few folks work with one that’s any narrower than Dale Kopf. The Genesee, Idaho, custom seeder is offering strictly no-till seeding in the Pacific Northwest, where the system is also known as direct-seeding.

Kopf custom seeds with a Cross Slot drill from New Zealand for a cost of about $30 per acre. He seeded 3,800 acres of winter wheat, spring wheat, barley, lentils and garbanzo beans last year. Some 2,200 of these acres were fall-seeded crops.

Kopf’s 25-foot-wide machine is equipped with 31 openers for seeding in 10-inch rows. He pulls the drill at 9 mph with a 450-horsepower Case IH 9380 tractor equipped with tracks and auto-steer.

The drill features a Raven Viper Pro AccuBoom for accurate side-band placement of either 32% liquid nitrogen or aqua nitrogen.

The Mark IV Cross Slot openers and the electronic setup were shipped from New Zealand for Kopf’s rig. Agpro in Lewiston, Idaho, built the 25-foot-wide frame and supplied and fitted the fertilizer and seed systems. This resulted in a total investment of $220,000 for the drill.

Kopf has $360,000 invested in the tractor and drill. Much of it was financed through a equipment loan program offered by Washington’s Spokane County Conservation District.

Huge Potential

“I worked with the Yielder drills years ago, so I saw the tremendous potential with no-till,” says Kopf. “That machine tended to turn the soil black, but it was still no-till.

“When I looked at this New Zealand machine…

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Frank Lessiter

Frank Lessiter has served as editor of No-Till Farmer since the publication was launched in November of 1972. Raised on a six-generation Michigan Centennial Farm, he has spent his entire career in agricultural journalism. Lessiter is a dairy science graduate from Michigan State University.

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