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FOR 14 YEARS, Allen Franks has been no-tilling. And for 14 years, this no-tiller from Guthrie, Ky., has been working out the bugs to make no-tilling wheat a smoother and more successful operation.
After pounding out some of the problems he’s experienced, Franks compiled his “10 Commandments Of No-Till Wheat” that he says makes his operation smoother, saves moisture, boosts yields and stops unnecessary headaches.
Franks says there are many benefits to no-tilling wheat that many farmers may not have even considered.
“In this area, we don’t deal with frozen ground all winter,” he says. “For the people who use conventional tillage to plant wheat, the crop will be 1 to 2 inches tall when winter hits. But it doesn’t protect the ground from erosion.
“Winter is the prime time for land erosion. No-tilling wheat stops the erosion since it leaves a nice mulch. Our neighbors have a problem with this. Muddy water runs off their fields while clean water runs off ours.”
“No-tilling wheat saves labor because you don’t have to chisel or use big equipment,” Franks says. “The no-till drills we have now are excellent. Earlier models were too light, but the heavier ones do a great job.”
“We usually go with a burndown herbicide that is capable of killing Johnsongrass,” he says. “Gramoxone does a good job, but it doesn’t kill perennials. It just burns them down. There’s enough seed in the soil to let us know…