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For a group of northwestern Ohio farmers, getting together every Tuesday morning means much more than just sharing a cup of coffee. The gathering offers opportunities to tackle no-till topics.
As the neon beer signs stand silent at the Moís restaurant in Ney, Ohio, the dozen no-tillers discuss everything from Blu-Jet equipment to Hoytville clays. All farmers no-till and about 85 percent of the discussion topics are geared to this practice.
Sharing information is crucial to their no-till success. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, area farmers were told no-till wouldn’t work in cool, poorly drained soils.
The group has uncovered ways to make no-till successful. “I’ve made a lot of little improvements,” says Jeff Peter of Hicksville, Ohio. “We’ve had 200 bushel per acre no-till corn the last couple years—not just in one field but three or four fields.”
Along with ideal weather, Peter attributes the high yields to ideas that he’s picked up from his peers. “If someone comes up with a topic we say, ‘Prove it,’” he says.
The ideas are proven through test plots and each member puts out four or five test plots every year. They study herbicides, insecticides, varieties and seed treatments. The group follows up by visiting a different farm each week during the summer to view the results.
“It gets us out there to look at the crop and find out what’s going on,” Peter says. “It’s one thing to look at the field from a pickup truck…