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Changes Really Pay Off!

Narrowing down row widths and coming up with a highly efficient no-till planting rig dramatically boosted yields.

Before heading for last January’s National No-Tillage Conference, Jack Herricks knew he wanted to narrow down his rows and make changes in his planting rig. Yet the Cashton, Wis., no-till veteran wasn’t totally motivated to make the changes prior to the 1999 growing season.

But based on what he’d learned about 20-inch corn rows and new no-till planting ideas at the St. Louis conference, he decided on the way home to put together the $45,000 nine-row no-till rig shown here.

Last spring, Herricks no-tilled 1,690 acres which included 450 acres of his own no-till corn. “Since we’re doing plenty of custom work, we’ll earn a fast payback for our investment in this new no-till planter,” he says.

With last year’s no-till custom work, Herricks charged $21 per acre when applying fertilizer and providing fuel.

Starting with no-till in 1985, Herricks has grown 100 percent no-till corn for a dozen years and 100 percent no-till alfalfa for 6 years. A moldboard plow was last used on the farm in 1979 and chisel plowing became history in the early 90s.

Herricks previously no-tilled with a single fluted coulter system on a White no-till 6-row planter with 30-inch rows.

He built his new 20-inch row rig around a Great Plains coulter cart and 6700 White planter after using 30-inch rows for 5 years.

Before fall harvest, the local Gleaner dealer built a 10-row corn head for 20-inch rows for custom harvesting. Silage for the 420-cow dairy operation is custom harvested with a Kemper…

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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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