Adding New Ideas, Equipment Improves No-Till

You’ve got to figure out the best way to make no-till work on your farm.

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Name: Rod Schmidt

Title: Owner and partner with son mike schmidt

Location: Clinton, Iowa

Number Of Years No-Tilling: 12

Acres: 2,500

No-Tilled Crops: Corn and soybeans

Before you develop a no-till plan, you need to define what the term actually means on your farm. It won’t be the same for someone who is located a couple states away or maybe even a couple miles down the road.

Is it no-tilling with one coulter? No coulters? Or several coulters? What level of soil disturbance will be required?

My son, Mike, and I own a no-till ripper, a no-till cultivator and a Phoenix rotary harrow. We’ve also pioneered with strip-tilling, a no-till approved program on our family owned farm near Clinton, Iowa.

Sound No-Till Strategies

At first glance, using this equipment may sound like we’re disturbing the soil a lot. However, our no-till methods reflect sound strategies that combine good soil conservation and profitability for our part of Iowa. What we’ve learned about no-tilling can be valuable to other farmers, but only if they adapt it to their own area and crops.

While I’ve been farming for 25 years, it took a lot of changes to make no-tilling work on our hills. Back in the early 1980s, no-till gained popularity in our area and we tried it, but we didn’t have the herbicides, corn hybrids or the right kind of no-till planters to make it work. Then farm programs dictated conservation plans for highly erodible fields.

As a result…

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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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