Three Workhorses Approved

If there's ever been any doubt on your part regarding the huge savings you’ll earn on fuel purchases from no-tilling, check out the No-Till-Age chart at the bottom left side of this page.

For a farmer cropping 1,000 acres, the fuel savings (based on $3 per gallon diesel prices) would be $13,000 with no-till compared to a neighbor still using conventional tillage. The savings for no-tilling 1,000 acres of ground vs. using other reduced tillage systems such as a disc, chisel plow or field cultivator, would equal $5,200 with $3 diesel fuel.

Rising fuel costs are getting many more farmers than ever before to think seriously about no-tilling next spring. With expensive fuel, they are realizing that even one less trip can save big dollars.

Bigger Increases Coming

From 2003 to 2005, University of Illinois ag economists calculated that the cost of running a combine for harvesting corn increased 21 percent and shot up 17 percent with soybeans. Yet planter costs increased by only 2 percent per acre.

For neighbors who haven’t yet switched to no-till, equipment cost increases were much higher. The cost of running a chisel plow increased by 11 percent, while field cultivator costs went up by 17 percent and tandem disc costs jumped by 21 percent per acre. These costs are due to higher fuel costs and higher equipment costs.

When making these calculations, Gary Schnitkey used an average diesel fuel price of $1 per gallon in 2003 and raised this to $1.50 per gallon for…

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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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