“When We Started To No-Till, Corn Yields Jumped 20 Bushels Per Acre!”

After 27 years, this Nebraska no-tiller knows no-tillage will make his soils and production tools sustainable for generations to come.

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Name: duane lange, operates landmark farms with sons jacob and joey as HIS partners Location: ord, neb.

Number Of Years No-Tilling: 27

Acres: 1,500 acres, including 750 acres of dryland and 750 acres of irrigated ground.

No-Tilled Crops: Corn, soybeans, winter wheat, sunflower, alfalfa, mustard, millet, milo, oats.

Livestock: 150 head cow/calf operation and feedlot.

No-Till is not a machine, not a crop and not residue. Instead, no-till is a combination of all the critical things you need to produce the best crop with the least cost and the most sustainability. That’s been our farm goal for the past quarter-century.

We live out where the West begins, so it’s perhaps not surprising that something called the Sidewinder got us started with no-till. In the mid-70s, we had a bad shattercane problem on our irrigated continuous corn. Of course, back then we didn’t have herbicides like Fusilade, Beacon or Accent.

But then we heard about the Sidewinder which is a field-sized 180-inch roto-tiller. Mounted on our 6-row planter, the power-take-off unit basically shallow-tilled a strip of soil that was a couple inches deep ahead of the row units while incorporating Sutan or Eradicane herbicide. A local dealer told us that every time he sold a Sidewinder, he also sold the customer a new grain bin the next year.

He was right. We used a Sidewinder, solved our shattercane problem and got the extra yields to fill another bin. But a big light went on in our heads too…

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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.

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