No-Tillers Avoid Costly Machinery ‘Fight’

As farm machinery costs continue their never-ending upward spiral, a 400-acre farmer can trim his equipment investment by $128.05 per acre with no-till.

With ever-rising farm machinery costs, the squeeze is certainly on farmers to come up with new ways to cut their investment in tractors, implements and combines.

If a farmer is willing to move less tillage, he can definitely make a substantial reduction in the dollar amount of equipment that he needs to farm.

Yet there’s considerable more savings for the farmer willing to give no-till a try than for the farmer who prefers minimum tillage over conventional tillage. As was the case in the two earlier articles in this series — which looked at fuel and labor costs — there’s much more of a case today for saving money on machinery than 15 years ago.

The Difference Widens

Back in 1965, a farmer could cut his farm machinery investment from the $34,595 needed to grow 400 acres of corn the conventional way to $32,506 with minimum tillage and to $19,268 with no-tillage. (All machinery costs in this article are based on buying all-new machinery in each of the 15 years shown above in our chart.)

The difference in farm-machinery needs between the three tillage systems has widened considerably during the past 15 years. In 1980, a farmer would need $139,337 worth of machinery to conventionally farm 400 acres of corn. This would drop to $127,637 worth of machinery to minimum till, or to $88,117 for no-till.

So you can readily see how the rapidly increasing price of farm machinery continues to make no-tillage look like a better bet all the…

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