What I've Learned From No-Tilling: When Quality Counts, Count On No-Till

White corn proves to be a winning combination with no-till in this 100-year-old Iowa farming operation.

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Name: Guy Williams

Location: Iowa City, Iowa

Number Of Years No-Tilling: 11

Acres: 1,500

No-Tilled Crops: White Corn, soybeans, Wheat and oats

Where I live, city and rural life co-exist 100 yards apart. That’s how close urban sprawl has come to our family’s Walnut Row Farm on the outskirts of Iowa City, Iowa.

I’m the third-generation Williams to farm this land, and I plan to continue no-tilling the ground as long as I can. I also rent ground from several landowners, including the city, county, state and a large energy company. Thanks to no-till, We’ve been able to improve the productivity of all those acres during the past 10 years.


With a ready market located only two stop signs and 30 miles down the road (Quaker Oats in Cedar Rapids), no-tilled white corn makes a lot of economic sense for us. The biggest difference with food vs. feed grade corn is the amount of attention that it demands during the growing season. I always joke that we can’t be 4-by-4-farmers – 4 weeks in the spring and another 4 weeks in the fall. But the extra effort usually pays off in a premium price for our no-tilled corn.


It wasn’t until 1993 that I teamed up white corn with no-tilling. Prior to that, we made at least three passes with the disc and harrow until the soil was as mellow as a backyard garden. But too often, before we got around to planting, hard rains…

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Ron Ross

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