Precision, Covers, Planter Tweaks Piece Together No-Till Success

Ohio no-tillers Steve and Doug Longfellow are saving inputs, improving soils and hiking yields on their heavy clay fields by building a complete no-till system.

They understand no-till is a complete system, and by adding precision technology and cover crops to an already successful planting and fertility program, they’re hoping to improve their farm operation even more and rake in higher yields.

Success Story

After mastering the art of no-till drilling soybeans into corn stubble, Steve made the leap to 100% no-till when he transitioned corn into the practice in 1995.

At the time, with a job off the farm in seed sales, Steve saw that no-till helped him eliminate extra trips across the field with tillage equipment, saving him time and labor. He also witnessed improvements in soil health, planting conditions and crops, which helped convince him to make a full commitment to no-till.

In the nearly 2 decades the Longfellows have been 100% no-till, they’ve seen tangible changes to their soil health that also made a difference in their bottom line.

Soil organic matter has increased by 1%, and Doug notes they’re getting better stands on hillsides due to improved moisture conservation.

Over the last 5 to 7 years, corn yields have increased by about 10%, and soybeans yields are up by about 8%, under normal growing conditions. Depending on the weather, the Longfellows have seen corn yields range from 50 bushels to 210 bushels per acre, and soybeans yield between 20 and 60 bushels, just in the last 5 years.

Doug says the yield increases are an achievement from the entire system, not just a single component. Steve notes no-till has definitely…

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Laura Barrera

Laura Barrera is the former managing editor of No-Till Farmer and Conservation Tillage Guide magazines. Prior to joining No-Till Farmer, she served as an assistant editor for a greenhouse publication. Barrera holds a B.A. in magazine journalism from Ball State University.

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