Advertise Follow Us
No matter what time of year it is, your chances of tracking down no-tillers Ron Metzler and Randy Wissler, owners of Metzler & Wissler Farms, are probably about as good as winning the lottery.
Their diverse operation includes 1,400 acres of tobacco, watermelon, cantaloupe, Christmas trees, pumpkins, alfalfa, corn and small grains, and keeps these two brothers-in-law planting, trimming, harvesting, spraying and down-right busy year round.
The duo credits their neighboring no-tiller, Steve Groff, and rising fuel prices for getting them started in no-tilling. Metzler and Wissler Farms, located in Holtwood, Pa., are 90 percent no-till with alfalfa, corn, small grain and pumpkin crops.
Both Wissler and Metzler have found that no-tilling pumpkins into corn, barley and wheat residue work well for their operation.
With its rolling hills and good drainage, south-central Pennsylvania has one of the best climates in the U.S. to grow pumpkins, Wissler says. Metzler and Wissler Farms grow 15 varieties of pumpkins from weebies or Jack Littles to 500 pound pumpkins, which are planted in 90- or 60-inch rows. The largest pumpkin the farm has ever harvested was 550 pounds.
The farm’s pumpkins are sold at roadside stands, grocery stores and markets all over the East Coast down to Florida, Metzler says. He adds that diversification with retailers is the key. “We don’t want to put all of our eggs in one basket,” he explains.
In addition to the Metzler & Wissler Farm’s 700 acres of no-tilled pumpkins, they market 300 acres of pumpkins…