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Match-Making Pays With No-Till

For effective no-tilling, you need to know what seeding equipment will work best and what it takes for peak performance.

My wife and I always try to do the very best job of no-tilling that we can in our 3,100-acre operation where we’ve been no-tilling for 22 years.

While you can do a good job of planting with either a new or a used planter, the key is to have a planter in good repair that can be quickly adjusted for changing conditions. Another key is to have a good relationship with your dealer and his employees.

My wife, Louana, and I traded two tractors, a planter and a drill for a 240-horsepower tractor and a 16/31 row planter to trim maintenance and overhead costs. We’re saving $7,000 to $8,000 a year in bulk-fill soybean seed by planting soybeans in 15-inch rows rather than using a no-till drill.

Besides cutting back on soybean populations by about 50,000 seeds per acre, we’re getting more accurate planting depth and much better soybean seed-to-soil contact.

To effectively handle Bt corn refuge acres, I wanted a fast-folding planter so we could travel fast early in the morning and plant three or four refuge areas within a 3- to 4-mile radius. After the refuge planting is finished, we come back to the home base and fill the bulk fill planter with small-sized seed so we can plant 320 acres in a day without reloading.

This planting strategy also reduces the amount of time spent on seed cleanout to a minimum.

Sizing Up Equipment.

Matching the tractor to the no-till planter is critical. I purchased the…

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