Four no-tillers, each with vast experience that has shown them the best and worst management practices on their own farms and others, shared some of their best advice in a presentation at January’s National No-Tillage Conference.
The following tips, tricks and techniques have proven successful for Marion Calmer, who cultivates hundreds of test plots for analysis in Alpha, Ill.; Bill Rohrs, head of the Conservation Action Project in Findlay, Ohio; Brad Mathson, a crop consultant in Whitehall, Wis.; and Joe Nester, a crop consultant in Bryan, Ohio. Each has been a No-Till Innovator Award winner in the annual recognition ceremony sponsored by Syngenta and No-Till Farmer.
1. To reduce cracked kernels in the combine grain tank, open the bottom sieve. Then slowly close the top sieve to clean the grain tank. This will significantly reduce grain returns, increase capacity and reduce sieve loss. There is no part of the kernel that needs to be re-threshed.
2. Don’t turn your back on a no-till field. Check your fields once or twice per week, from emergence through harvest. Look for small weeds, insects, disease symptoms and no-till planter performance. If you spot problems, take appropriate action.
3. Checking for soil compaction should be a high priority. It’s the first thing I do with any new land I get. I have found a 20- to 30-bushel increase in no-till corn yields after eliminating compaction. And now there is data showing a relationship between compaction and sudden death syndrome in…