No-Till Will ‘Cheapen’ Farm Labor Costs

With farm-labor expenses going up every year, the actual labor savings from no-till have increased 296% in the past 15 years.

Taking a close look at the amount of time you can save by switching to no-tillage, you’ll see that you can save 44 minutes per acre.

By switching from conventional tillage to no-tillage on just 400 acres of corn, you can save 293 hours of time.

That’s a substantial savings — in both the cost of labor and in terms of being able to get your corn crop planted earlier in the spring.

By comparison, shifting from conventional tillage to minimum tillage could save you 133 hours of needed labor on the same 400 acres of corn.

These kinds of facts on how farmers can save plenty of time by moving to less tillage certainly aren’t new. In fact, farmers have known about these kind of time savings for a number of years.

But nobody has ever taken the time savings that can be earned with less tillage and figured it against ever-changing farm labor prices. That’s what we have done in the two charts shown here, for both no-tillage and minimum tillage.

By looking at the center area between our two charts, you can see how the cost of the typical farm worker has gone up from $1.25 to $3.65 per hour during the past 15 years.

The top chart shows the annual labor savings possible by no-tilling 400 acres of corn has gone from $366 in 1965 to $1,072 in 1980.

By comparison, the labor savings earned by switching 400 acres of corn from conventional tillage to minimum…

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