On The No-Till Soapbox With Jerry Crew

Views on compaction, biotechnology, ripping, erosion and plenty more.

No-tiller Jerry Crew may be outspoken and not always tactful, but he always means to be respectful when he steps onto his no-till soapbox.

When push comes to shove, Crew will take on any farmer or educator to debate the benefits of no-tillage. And, if you pay attention to your agriculture magazines, rarely will an article that slams no-till get by without drawing a letter to the editor from him that defends no-till. No-Till Farmer recently received one of these letters from Crew in response to an article on ripping in no-till (see September 2001, page 16).

Crew, a purist no-tiller in Webb, Iowa, began no-tilling in 1981. He’s been 100 percent no-till since 1986 with 600 acres of corn and soybeans. In a one-on-one interview with No-Till Farmer, Crew steps up to the soapbox to share his views on compaction, ripping, tillage, biotechnology, erosion and much more.

Q: Why don’t you believe in ripping no-tilled fields?

A: In the first place, farmers who work hilly ground with a ripper because they’re too steep to contour shouldn’t even be farming that ground. It’s an assault on soil conservation and makes no sense. You have no topsoil left.

Q: Why do you think some no-tillers maintain that ripping fits into their no-till program?

A: They’re not no-tillers. They’re tillage farmers who have experimented with no-till and they still can’t get that tillage gene out of their systems.

No-till by definition is not doing tillage any time of the year and I…

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