NAME: Jim Hershey
LOCATION: Elizabethtown, Penn.
YEARS NO-TILLING: 21
ACRES: 600 in Pennsylvania and 1,500 in Ohio
CROPS NO-TILLED: Corn, soybeans, wheat and barley
You can’t farm by the seat of your pants anymore. It takes a business plan and research to get maximum yields and profits.
I’ve been no-tilling for more than 20 years and have seen a lot of changes in that time. Back then you got a hybrid, stuck it in the ground and knew what it would do whether you were in Iowa, Illinois or wherever.
Now hybrids are developed and bred for specific geographic areas. What works in Pennsylvania may not do well in Ohio or Indiana.
No-tilling is now a high-tech business — from hybrids to machinery and beyond — and you must keep up to be successful. I’m constantly researching ways to improve my operation.
For example, residue management has probably been my biggest challenge. Getting that system right has required changes to rotation, planter attachments, combine heads and more.
My current interest is maximizing micronutrient use and other fertilizer strategies for corn and soybeans.
When I first started no-tilling I didn’t apply popup fertilizer in the furrow. Now I do, and I’m trying a variety of other products for different needs.
For the past 8 years, I’ve applied popup fertilizer and micronutrients, including zinc and sulfur, when no-tilling corn. It’s provided crops an early-season boost that helps them overcome tough conditions. I’ve also experimented with products…