TOUGH STALKS. The farmâ??s Great Plains air seeder successfully no-tills wheat into green tobacco stalks. Yet Mike Ellis does not like this photo as he believes true no-till must have sufficient mulch cover to supply needed moisture to shallow no-till plant roots. This is the case with no-tilling all but a few acres of the farming operation.

“No-Till Is Key To Growth”

By saving time and showing landlords the many benefits of no-till, this Kentucky farming operation has grown to taking crops off more than 6,000 acres.

When you're expanding, nothing is more important than making the most efficient use of your time and equipment while boosting yields.

That’s certainly true at the Worth & Dee Ellis Farms operation at Eminence, Ky. By showing many benefits of no-tilling along with the benefits of precision farming, this diversified farming operation added 1,081 acres from five new landlords during 1998 and 1999. That brought the farm’s cropped acreage to 4,624 acres on 23 farms, all located within 8 1/2 miles of the farm’s headquarters.

Since 2,007 acres are double-cropped, the farm seeded and harvested 6,103 acres last year.

Yields for 1998 averaged 53 bushels for wheat, 126 bushels for corn, 38 bushels for full-season soybeans and 29 bushels per acre for double-cropped soybeans in a 2-year rotation.

The 1999 acreage included 2,002 acres of wheat which yielded 70.6 bushels per acre, 1,976 acres of double-cropped soybeans, 2,166 acres of corn, 439 acres of full season soybeans, 56 acres of alfalfa and 106 acres of filter strips.

Mike Ellis oversees the crop program in this diversified operation that also includes a sizable livestock operation. Brothers Bob and Jim oversee the hog and dairy operation. In June of this year, the dairy herd was phased out and Bob is now helping manage the growing crop enterprise. The farm has 10 full-time and five part-time employees.

Ellis had no-tilled for 13 years before making a trip to Brazil in 1983 to participate in a no-till conference. Based on what he saw in…

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Lessiter frank

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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