What I've Learned From No-Tilling: No-Till Is Cornerstone To Smarter Farming

Process sets off a chain of innovations for this Indiana farm family.

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Location: FORT WAYNE, IND.

Number Of Years No-Tilling: 17

Acres: 1,700

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…

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Ron Ross

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