The No-Till Answer Man!

As part of this continuing series, an Indiana farmer tackles your most frequently asked no-tilling questions.

Editor’s Note: Stanley Smock no-tills 650 acres of corn and soybeans, plus double-cropped soybeans behind wheat, on the family’s Edinburgh, Ind., farm.

Here Are my thoughts on questions recently asked by No-Till Farmer readers. Remember that your particular farming circumstances may result in entirely different answers to these particular concerns.

Q: Our neighbors have purchased a rotary harrow. What do you think of the concept with no-till?

A: The tool works well in warming up cool wet soils prior to planting. But with my extremely dry soils in southern Indiana, it would be the last tool I’d want to use.

Q: A neighbor’s field that has been no-tilled for a number of years always looks like it is under stress. The father-and-son no-till 2,000 acres and they keep the weeds under control. I’m just being nosy, but what do you think could be the matter?

A: Not knowing the soil type or area of the country makes it difficult. The first thing that comes to mind is compaction, even though you say they are excellent farmers.

When I see farmers cropping that much ground even though they’re not rutting up fields, they’re probably crowding planting and harvesting by 24 to 48 hours. This could be compounding their problem each year.

Compaction is a problem that takes time and patience to eliminate in no-till. Some sort of deep tillage works well if done correctly. The best results that I see come from waiting until the soil is dry and using a…

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