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What I've Learned From No-Tilling: We Tied It All Together With Smooth Transition To Strip-Tilling

Multi-purpose equipment aids efficiency, and current practices could qualify for soil and water conservation payments.

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NAME: Randy Norby

TITLE: General Manager, Norby Green Country Inc.

LOCATION: Osage, Iowa

YEARS IN NO-TILLING: 14 (4 years strip-tilling)

CROPS NO-TILLED: Corn, soybeans

When I started no-tilling soybeans with a John Deere 750 drill in 1992, hardly anyone in our area of north central Iowa had even thought about planting directly into corn stalks. I was intrigued with the cost- and labor-savings from eliminating a fall tillage trip and at least one spring tillage operation. I was anxious, of course, about what might happen to my yield, and I was pleased that there was no yield difference between no-till and our conventional methods that fall.

The next year, the 750 drill proved itself again. We had a very wet spring, and people were asking how I was going to plant soybeans through the corn stalks in the cold, wet fields that hadn’t been fall-tilled. As it turned out, I was drilling through the corn stalks before my neighbors were able to work their ground and my yields were actually better than I had been getting from tilled fields. I learned that you can successfully no-till soybeans into heavy corn residue when soil conditions are less than optimum.

Over the next several years, my brothers Dana and Steve, with whom I share equipment, and I increased no-till soybeans to more than 1,600 acres, including some custom work with the 750.

NO-TILL CORN CHALLENGE

Planting corn into soybean stubble, however, was a bigger challenge. We were growing soybeans…

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Ron Ross

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