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It might be time for no-tillers to stand up and tell their equipment dealers to start paying attention.
In some dealerships, “conservation tillage” — and “no-till,” in particular — have been dirty words of a sort. That’s because no-tillers who make fewer passes in their fields have cut down their machine hours, thereby reducing their need for typical equipment repair and replacement — and the financial rewards for the dealers who meet those needs.
For the most part, the dealers have been able to afford to largely ignore the needs of no-tillers and other conservation tillage farmers, never learning much about their methods and their equipment.
It was as if the dealers believed no-tilling would simply go away once it proved to be an unprofitable way to farm.
That hasn’t happened, of course, and now no-tillers are positioned to challenge dealers, thanks to the changing agricultural landscape.
The National Crop Residue Management Survey coordinated by the Conservation Technology Information Center confirms that 113 million acres, or 41 percent, of all cropland in 2004 was farmed via conservation tillage — up nearly 10 million acres from 2 years ago. No-tilling accounted for 62.4 million acres.
Dealerships across the country have felt the impact of the increasing use of methods that rely less on heavy equipment and implements. And the voice of no-tillers is gaining strength as their numbers grow.
To get a feel for no-tiller/dealer relationships, No-Till Farmer gathered six no-tillers to discuss their experiences with dealers during January’s…