Why No-Till Is Working

A few weeks back, the 91 nominations were judged in the 2001 No-Till Innovator Awards program. Co-sponsored by Syngenta Crop Protection and No-Till Farmer, this program is now in its sixth year of honoring outstanding no-till accomplishments.

The winners will be announced at the Friday evening banquet during the 10th annual National No-Tillage Conference being held from Jan. 9 to 12, 2002, in St. Louis, Mo. As you might guess, it was no easy task selecting the “best-of-the-best” in no-till.

What was particularly interesting was to read the comments about no-till made by many nominees. You quickly see why they’ve made no-till work so well while encouraging many others to do the same.

1. John McNabb of Pocatello, Idaho, and his three sons have no-tilled as many as 40,000 acres of wheat, barley, alfalfa and mustard in a year. With depressed farm prices and increasing land rental rates, they’ve recently scaled back to a total of 7,000 no-tilled acres.

No-tilling since 1978 and 100 percent no-till since 1981, McNabb saves $35 per acre in equipment costs. “Fewer passes mean the equipment lasts longer and no-till is also more efficient which is important in an operation this size,” he says. “No-till is better for the environment as there is no chemical runoff, no mud, more soil moisture and the land has been visibly improved since we quit working the soil.”

2. When Ron Wadle started no-tilling in 1989, he had soil losses as high as 22 tons per acre. The Fonda…

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Lessiter frank

Frank Lessiter

Frank Lessiter has served as editor of No-Till Farmer since the publication was launched in November of 1972. Raised on a six-generation Michigan Centennial Farm, he has spent his entire career in agricultural journalism. Lessiter is a dairy science graduate from Michigan State University.

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