Dirty Little Secrets For Efficient No-Tilling

No one becomes successful at no-tilling by luck. Here’s tricks that keep northern no-tillers ticking.

NO-TILLING in these tough times, we could all use a good idea or tip here and there. Especially if they’re good ones. These farmers from North Dakota and Manitoba have tried and tested many ideas—and we’ve brought the very best here to share with all of you.

Ron St. Croix, Kenmare, N.D.

This veteran no-tiller has been farming in a tough area, something he calls a “transition period” between the wetter east and the drier west.

  • Fall Treatment. “I find it cheaper and more efficient to control seedling Canada thistle and quackgrass in the fall,” he admits. “Spring in-crop treatment is expensive and generally results in suppression instead of control. Clean fields allow flexible rotations.”


  • Good Chopping. “We minimize fall harrowing with a good straw chopper,” he says. “Good chopping with new hammers each year will generally eliminate the need to harrow.”
  • Watch The Rotation. “I like a flexible rotation,” St. Croix notes. “With clean fields, I can change no-till rotations, depending on price and disease problems. My normal rotation is durum, barley, durum and a broadleaf crop in a 4-year cycle.”
  • Think About Air Seeders. “We’ve used a 48-foot Concord air seeder for 8 years,” he says. “I like its flexibility including sweeps, narrow openers or no-till openers. Since we switched to coulters for anhydrous, we can use any opener as needed. Early in the season, we use sweeps with no burndown chemical. On oilseed crops, we use a 4-inch opener.”
  • Be Innovative. “We replaced our D-J Tubes with…
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