TRACKING COMPACTION. David Dukes uses a 4,200 gallon tank equipped with tracks to apply liquid manure in the fall to no-tilled ground.

Remember These Profit-Building Points When Applying Manure To Your No-Tilled Crops

Fall manure application works best and even offers strip-tilling "bonus" benefits.

A veteran no-tiller, hog and beef producer, David Dukes doesn’t take spreading manure lightly.


Since he’s working with a permanent seedbed, the Bedford, Iowa, farmer wants to be very careful about what he does. In fact, Dukes keeps three main points in mind when managing nutrients through manure to his no-tilled crops:

  1. Always provide consumable nutrients through manure that no-tilled crops can actually utilize to the fullest extent possible. Ideally, this should be done within your next two no-tilled crops.

  2. Try to avoid costly over-application of manure from both economic and environmental standpoints.

  3. Weigh the pros and cons of investing in long-term manure storage.

To provide consumable nutrients, he wants to develop a suitable soil environment that includes preserving good soil structure.

He cautions that cattle producers should consider this when grazing animals on cropland. In muddy conditions, cattle hooves leave depressions in the soil and often offset any economic gains one might obtain from grazing no-tilled ground.

Dukes says a John Deere 750 style of no-till drill works well in dry conditions, but not so well over uneven ground (due to animal tracks and mud). This is due to the fact that the wider depth control wheel is unable to go down into the depressions.

Instead, Dukes would prefer a coulter cart type no-till drill where he would actually move more soil. Since a double disc opener is not restricted by a depth control wheel as it drops into the trench, it can go deeper for just a split…

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