NO-TILL CORN. Wheat residue has been so heavy in some instances that Jared Hoover has had to use Yetter coulters to move the trash away from the row area in order to warm up the ground quicker before actually no-tilling corn.

With Upland Terraces, No-Till Slices Cropping Time in Half

Even so, this farmer is looking more closely at no-till cultural practices due to disturbing weather trends.

Jared Hoover started no-tilling to cut costs on his mostly upland terraced land. Since the Abilene, Kan., farmer began no-tilling about a decade ago, Hoover figures he’s cut the time it takes to farm by about 50 percent.

This is not hard to believe when Hoover explains that in one 26-acre parcel, for example, he averaged less than 2.5 acres per terrace. He could not use a four-wheel tractor on these terraces and under conventional till, it took 40 percent longer to work the ground.

Handle More Acres

Since he only has to spray, plant and harvest with no-till, Hoover can profitably manage more acres.

But managing those upland acres is not easy. The thin upland soil does not retain moisture as well as some of the Kansas no-tiller’s lowland acres. This has been particularly challenging with very hot weather and about 20 inches of annual rainfall during each of the last 2 years.

This disturbing weather trend has caused Hoover to look more closely at his no-till cultural practices, including crop rotations. In cooperation with the Heartland Crop Residue Alliance in Kansas, the no-tiller has been experimenting with 2-, 3- and 4-year crop rotations.

While he now has 5 years of experience with the 4-year rotation, he’s not been impressed so far with the results. It’s still too early to judge the 2- and 3-year rotations because last year was the first year that Hoover had collected data on them.

Edge To 3-Year Rotation

Even so, the Kansas no-tiller…

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