What I've Learned from No-Tilling: World Records Still Leave Room For Higher Yields

Kip Cullers says he — and other no-tillers — can produce yields that go beyond levels that already leave some observers in disbelief.

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Name: Kip Culler

Location: Purdy, Mo

Years Of No-Tilling: 20

Acres No-Tilled: 2,000 (Farm operation includes 5,000-plus arces.)

Crops: Corn, soybeans, green beans, spinach, collard, kale, mustard, turnips

It's an understatement to say that we’ve had a lot of publicity since harvest of 2006, when the word got out that my farm had placed first or second in three categories of the National Corn Growers Association yield contest (including a first-place 347.26 bushels per acre in a no-till irrigated class) and also weighed out a world-record soybean yield of 139 bushels per acre with conventional tillage.

I admit I was pleased to see the mounting interest in my goal of coaxing the most yield I can get out of these crops.

Still, I feel one of the really intriguing no-till stories on our farms has been somewhat overlooked. It’s a story that goes beyond high yields and gets right down to what I call “true, true, profitable no-tilling.” It makes no-till soybeans look like child’s play and even no-till corn-on-corn by-the-numbers simple.

“Real No-Tilling”

We renovate about 2,000 acres per year of old fescue pasture sod and, with a little help from Mother Nature, get a “free” 200-bushel no-till corn crop in the process. Sound good? It is, but it takes a firm commitment and a leap of faith to believe it can be done the first time you try it. After our experiences, I believe that if you can successfully no-till into 40-year-old fescue sod, you…

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