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When Harvey Brink explains how no-till has helped trim labor and equipment costs, he maintains that it saves driving across 11,500 acres per year in his operation.
Using an air seeder, the Bentley, Alberta, grower crops 1,300 acres of his own ground and custom seeds another 1,000 acres in a typical year. Relying on direct seeding to make five fewer trips across every acre, this amounts to making trips across 11,500 fewer acres each year in his operation.
Besides direct seeding 1,300 acres of wheat, barley, canola and peas, Brink operates a 130-sow, farrow-to-finish operation and backgrounds 400 beef cattle each year.
Brink credits direct seeding with reducing input costs, saving labor, requiring fewer trips across the field, increasing soil moisture and improving soil fertility.
“I’ve been direct seeding for 9 years and everyone thought I was crazy when I started because people felt we couldn’t no-till in our area,” he says. “But we made it work and we continue to learn something new about direct seeding every year.”
Thanks to no-till, Brink crops every acre every year. There are now areas in Alberta where the annual crop acreage has doubled with direct seeding while eliminating summerfallow needs. Many no-tillers have gone from raising a crop every other year with conventional tillage to growing a crop every year with direct seeding.
When Brink began farming on his own, he quickly recognized that no-till was the best option. In fact, he figured it was the only way…