Take These No-Tilling Ideas To The Field

Check out practical no-tilling ideas you can use immediately in your cropping operation.

Plenty of good ideas for no-tillers came out of last summer’s 35th annual Top Farmer Crop Workshop at Purdue University. Here’s a quick rundown on the “best of the best” ideas.

1. If it takes more than 4 weeks to no-till corn and soybeans, Howard Doster says you probably need a larger no-till planter. The Purdue University ag economist says that you will likely benefit from buying a larger capacity combine if you’re harvesting corn or beans after Nov.10.

Most Midwestern farmers need 9 to 14 days to plant and 25 to 36 days to harvest their corn and bean crops.

For your planting and harvesting dates, Doster suggests using yields that are 12 to 15 percent lower than your anticipated yields for the best no-till and harvest dates on your farm. If your best dates produce yields of 139 bushels of corn and 46.5 bushels of soybeans per acre, the last dates will likely produce 121 bushels of corn and 40 bushels of soybeans per acre.

“No one wants a bigger machine than he needs, so figure out a way to use big machinery” says Doster. “A bigger machine costs more every year, but it also returns more dollars every year. About every fifth year when the number of suitable days is sharply reduced, it more than pays for the extra cost.

“Invest in bigger machinery to make your labor more productive. Use it to lower your per acre machinery costs. As a bonus, you can do extra acres…

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Frank Lessiter

Frank Lessiter has served as editor of No-Till Farmer since the publication was launched in November of 1972. Raised on a six-generation Michigan Centennial Farm, he has spent his entire career in agricultural journalism. Lessiter is a dairy science graduate from Michigan State University.

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