NAME: Doug Gronau
LOCATION: Denison, Iowa
YEARS NO-TILLING: 7
ACRES NO-TILLED: 1,200 acres
CROPS NO-TILLED: Corn and soybeans
Returning to no-till after a 30-plus year hiatus was really a homecoming for my family. My father no-tilled in the 1960s, but moved away from the practice due to the lack of mechanical and herbicide options we needed to make no-till work.
Today, there are more than enough tools to make no-till not only work, but really pay. I wanted to return to the practice for a long time, but the thing holding me back was my planter.
I tend to be a low-budget farmer and do things in the cheapest way possible. It would have been a fool’s errand to take my really old planter and spend a lot of money to fix it up for no-till. Instead, I waited until 2004, when it needed to be replaced. I was able to get a new Kinze no-till planter and put everything on it I needed to go no-till, and I haven’t looked back.
Don’t take what I’m saying the wrong way: I have decent equipment. I just don’t waste money. No matter how high commodity prices climb, there’s no excuse for being over-equipped. Everything needs to pay for itself.
At some point, things will get tough again. Being competitive through the good times will help your chances of surviving the tough times.
No-till is part of being economically competitive too, but I waited for the right time. Now…