No-Till’s Most Unforgivable Sins

There are a number of things you can do to increase yields and profits. Here’s what you should never, ever do.

Growers in all tillage disciplines have one common goal: yield. No matter whether you’re chisel- or moldboard plowing, strip-tilling, minimum-tilling or die-hard no-tilling, the more you grow, the more you make. Theoretically. But how do you make sure that you’re reaching your crop’s genetic potential? Since the days of Nostradamus, growers have been struggling with that question.

Meet Roger Forsberg

This veteran crop consultant from Clinton, Ill., says that sometimes you need to shift focus from what you should be doing to what you shouldn’t. He also maintains that not only are growers getting about half of their crop’s potential, but the moment they take the seed out of the bag, they’re losing yield.

“Farming is nothing more than doing the right thing at the right place at the right time,” he explains. This translates to the grower knowing exactly where the plant is and making sure to best accommodate it. Not paying attention to the critical stages in a plant’s life is the first of the unforgivable sins of no-till.

No-Till Planting Depth

The depth at which seeds are planted has more repercussions than many realize. Forsberg realizes that depth may have an impact on soil temperature for the seed, but he warns about forgetting to recognize the importance of the no-till planting slot.


“If you have a planting slot open because you planted in wet conditions, that plant is going to stop growing once it reaches the surface and intercepts sunlight,” he maintains. “The leaves start emerging. Then…

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