For Growers Who Faced A Serious 2012 Drought Situation, No-Till Chalked Up Favorable Results In Comparison With More Intensive Tillage Systems

With the drought having a major impact on yields and profits in many areas this year, farmers who no-till likely banked more dollars than neighbors using more intensive tillage practices.

While no-till certainly wasn’t a cure-all for a severe lack of summer moisture, many readers of this publication saw numerous profit-building benefits to this system in a limited-rainfall situation.

In late September, we emailed a survey to farmers that receive the twice-monthly No-Till Farmer E-Tip e-newsletter. Some 163 growers responded with comments on how no-till performed under this summer’s drought conditions. (See Page 72 for more on no-till and the drought.)

When asked about the impact of no-till on 2012 yields compared to more intensive tillage systems used by other farmers in their area, 69% expected higher yields. Another 26% did not anticipate any yield differences, while 5% felt no-till would likely end up reducing yields by a few bushels compared to other tillage systems.

Looking at income, 84% of the farmers indicated no-till would increase profits per acre this year compared to other more intensive tillage systems.

Some 12% expected no difference in profit among various tillage systems used in their areas while 4% say no-till would trim profits to some extent.

27 Bushels More Corn

Among farmers that expected increased yields with no-tilled corn under drought conditions, the average yield boost was 27 bushels per acre when compared with more intensive tillage systems. These farmers estimated no-till would earn them an additional profit of $125 per acre.


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Lessiter frank

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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