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Name: ELLIS MCFADDEN
Title: ELLMAR FARMS (MANAGED WITH SON-IN-LAW, TOM TILDEN)
Location: FORT WAYNE, IND.
Number Of Years No-Tilling: 17
No-Tilled Crops: CORN, SOYBEANS
I tell my neighbors that I don’t want to farm anymore. I just want to farm smarter. That philosophy was the reason we went with no-till in 1986, and it’s the driving force behind other steps that we’ve taken to make farming more efficient and profitable.
Like a lot of no-tillers, I became convinced almost by accident that no-till would work. I recall one spring in the early 1980s when, for some reason that I don’t remember, I dropped the corn planter into the ground for a few yards before I plowed one of my fields.
By the time I was finished working the soil, the corn in that untilled strip was already 6 inches tall and it looked good! It opened my eyes to the fact that we could probably eliminate what early no-tillers called “recreational” tillage.
By the time I switched to 100 percent no-till, I was convinced that it would call for a lot less steel (tillage equipment), save barrels of fuel and cut way back on the amount of time that we had to spend in the field. So, I had what I called “my big garage sale.” I got rid of two 4-wheel-drive-tractors, 8- and 7-bottom plows, two large cultivators and a couple chisel plows.
I traded that equipment for two brand…