What I've Learned From No-Tilling: Why No-Till Boosts Your Return On Investment

In field trials, this crop consultant found no-till earned $40 to $50 more profit per acre.

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Name: Joe Nester

Title: Owner, Nester AG Management (Three Full-Time Crop Consultants)

Location: Bryan, Ohio.

Number Of Years involved with No-Tilling: 15 (4 as a retail fertilizer dealer and 11 as an independent crop consultant)

No-Tilled Crops: Corn, Soybeans, Wheat

Our first serious no-till experiences in northwestern Ohio pretty much paralleled the introduction of the John Deere 750 no-till drill in the late 1980s. After seeing it run for the first time, my immediate thought was that this no-till drill had a chance to make a major impact on our agriculture.

Over the next few years, I bought ten 750 no-till drills and rented them to farmers. Their popularity grew so fast that I was running these no-till drills 24 hours a day during busy spring seasons, moving them from one farm to the next during night hours. Within a few years, many of our customers went from 100 percent conventional tillage to nearly 100 percent no-till soybeans.

No-till soybeans work well because the tap root penetrates the compaction layers that are caused by decades of tilling. Getting growers to try no-till corn was more of a struggle. Most of our clients didn’t even raise corn at that time because our lake bed clay soils were so tough and tight.

If they tilled in the spring they usually wound up with a muddy mess and replanting was the norm. If they did get corn planted, the soil crusted after the first rain, and emergence was spotty. It…

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Ron Ross


Joe Nester

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