Drop Soybean Seed Counts To Aim For Profits, Not Yields

No-tillers and researchers are finding that lower populations can maintain yields while providing healthier plants and bottom lines.

Grass farming doesn’t demand much attention in No-Till Farmer, but that doesn’t mean a grass farmer can’t find the answers he needs in these pages and from No-Till Farmer readers.

Ronald Hicks, a grass producer in Texas, recalls seeing articles about the need to sometimes add weight to a no-till drill when working into sod. He also wonders how using a no-till drill in live bermudagrass sod compares to no-tilling into crop residue.

So he contacted us for answers, noting that he’s never owned nor operated a no-till drill. However, he’s planning to use a drill to no-till winter forages, including rye, wheat, ryegrass and white clover. The seed will be “dusted in” between late August and mid- September in Bowie County, Texas. He says the weather there is hot and dry and the ground is hard.

Power Plans

“I don’t plan on using a no-till drill more than 8 feet wide. What tractor horsepower would be a good match? Can the same drill be used for summer forage such as sorghum or sudangrass?”

He believes it would have to be a tough, heavy machine for use on pasture and range- land.

Hicks’ questions drew a number of quick responses from readers.

Consultant Ed Winkle of Martinsville, Ohio, believes any good drill will work, including the Haybuster, Great Plains, Tye and others.

As for power needs, he says about 10 horsepower per foot of width is the maximum that might be needed. “I can pull a 15-footer with 70…

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Ross ron

Ron Ross

Ron Ross pioneered the “What I’ve Learned from No-Tilling” series that has appeared in every issue of No-Till Farmer since August of 2002. He authored more than 100 of these articles.

A graduate of South Dakota State University’s agricultural journalism program, Ross spent most of his career as a writer and editor.

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