No-Till Slashes Costs, Helps You Expand

After economics got this father-and-son team into no-till, they found many other benefits.

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Name: Allen Berry

Location: Nauvoo, Ill.

Number Of Years No-Tilling: 14

Acres: 2,000 (farms with son, spencer, and a neighbor)

No-Tilled Crops: Corn, Soybeans, Alfalfa, Yellow Field Peas

When you look at our operation today, it’s difficult to believe that my dad, Eugene Berry, was a big fan of moldboard plowing. In fact, I even bought a new tractor and plow myself as recently as 1985. We were still plowing corn stalks, chiseling and field cultivating soybean ground until 1990.

Economics got me to exploring no-till. I made the first step in switching from conventional methods when I hired a neighbor with a Great Plains no-till drill to plant soybeans into standing corn stalks. That got us rolling, but it took nearly a decade before we got everything converted.

Today, my son Spencer and I no-till 1,200 acres on our farm, work with a neighbor to plant and harvest his 800 no-till acres and custom harvest 250 no-tilled acres for a second neighbor. We’ve applied a lot of new ideas gained from our own on-farm research and from networking with other farmers at all 13 of the National No-Till Conferences.

No-Till Cuts Costs


If we were still following the conventional tillage route, we would need 350- to 400-horsepower tractors and a machine shed full of discs, chisels, plows and field cultivators to grow a crop. Instead, a pair of 165-horsepower tractors provide enough power — one pulls a 16-row, 30-inch row planter while the other tractor handles…

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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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