No-Till Crop Diversification Is The Key

Thanks to no-till, this grower doesn’t expect to ever till his soils again.

Check The Specs...


Location: MITCHELL, S.D.

Number Of Years No-Tilling: 16

Acres: 10,000

No-Tilled Crops: Corn, soybeans, SPRING WHEAT, WINTER WHEAT

A strict no-till corn-and-soybean rotation leads you down a path to trouble. The more practical kind of diversity that you can work into your no-till system, the better.

A lack of diversity in our area around Mitchell, S.D., has led to extended diapause in corn rootworms, soybean cyst nematodes and lots of crop diseases. As a result, we’ve learned to always include either spring or winter wheat, or both, in our no-till rotations.

We’re evaluating a 6-year sequence that includes spring wheat, winter wheat, 2 years of corn and 2 years of soybeans, but of course it will take 12 years to go through the cycle twice to get a fair evaluation. So far, this cropping sequence appears to have many advantages with our 10,000-acre no-till operation. It gives us a 4-year break between various types of crops, so disease and soil insect pressure are minimal. And it lets us use a variety of herbicides without causing crop interaction concerns.


Seeing Is Believing

That’s what happened to us the first time we drove up to the Redfield, S.D., experiment station in 1988 where South Dakota State University agronomist Dwayne Beck did his early no-till work. It was a dry year and along the way we saw half-dead conventionally tilled beans. But when we pulled onto the research farm, we started seeing soybeans growing in wheat stubble…

To view the content, please subscribe or login.
 Premium content is for our Digital-only and Premium subscribers. A Print-only subscription doesn't qualify. Please purchase/upgrade a subscription with the Digital product to get access to all No-Till Farmer content and archives online. Learn more about the different versions and what is included.

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.

Top Articles

Current Issue


No-Till Farmer

Get full access NOW to the most comprehensive, powerful and easy-to-use online resource for no-tillage practices. Just one good idea will pay for your subscription hundreds of times over.

Subscribe Now

View More

Must Read Free Eguides

Download these helpful knowledge building tools

View More
Top Directory Listings