Rotary Harrow Makes Good No-Till Tool For Seeding Cover Crops

These machines have caught the eye of no-tillers because they only work the top inch or so of soil without causing major soil disturbance.

An unexpected Phillips rotary harrow was a good fit this year for Foundation Feeders, located near Spring Grove, Minn. Jim Holty, a partner with his brother Ron in the custom heifer raising service, won a year’s use of the harrow at the 2004 National No-Tillage Conference in Des Moines. Jim manages the agronomy side of the business while Ron concentrates on the livestock operation.

The Phillips rig features a patented interlocking tine assembly. A staggered, self-cleaning design hits the ground in a pattern of dotted grooves 3 1/4 inches apart. The machine has caught the eye of no-tillers because it only works the top inch or so without causing major soil disturbance. It has proven to work well to fluff the crop residue mat and work the soil surface and for light incorporation of seed and fertilizer.

Growing Better Heifers


Foundation Feeders requires mega-tons of forage for the 1,200 heifers consigned by area dairies. The heifers are custom fed in a program designed to enhance genetic potential and milk production ability by increasing rumen capacity.

Ron, an animal nutritionist, started custom raising heifers in 1995 and formed a corporation with Jim buying 50 percent of Foundation Feeders and the feedlot in 1998.

The brothers also manage the Minnesota Beef Cattle Improvement Association central bull test program at the facility. This year they are testing 150 bulls and 60 beef replacement heifers from 45 purebred breeders. The beef bulls and heifers are raised with the same principles of stretching the rumen…

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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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