RELAY INTERCROPPING. This photo shows an Illinois farmer who no-tilled soybeans into standing wheat in the 1980s. Drilled parallel with the small grain, the soybeans came up through the wheat as the crop was harvested in late June or early July. By comparison, the Thompsons no-till intercropped soybeans across the wheat rows.

Never Be Willing To Sit Still

This father and son team made a half dozen key changes in their 1999 cropping program.

With 3,400 acres of corn and soybeans, Dave and Brian Gunderson know the value of doing everything timely and efficiently.

That’s why the Waterford, Wis., father-and-son team no-till 1,700 acres of soybeans each year. With 1,700 acres of corn, they fall chisel plow, then field cultivate and plant in the spring.

For 1999, they planned the following changes:

1. Even though their previous planter was only five years old, the Gundersons purchased a 16-row John Deere 1770 planter last winter. The 30-inch row planter was equipped with Keeton seed firmers and Acra-Plant seed trenchers.

“We have a variable rate seeding option and the opportunity to plant six populations,” Dave Gunderson says. “To measure results, we have a yield monitor on our combine.”

When it came to deciding on a new planter, the Gundersons cited several reasons for the change.

“The parallel linkage was getting weak on the old planter, we’ve done lots of no-till acres which are tough on any planter and we wanted the updates,” says Gunderson. “This included staggered closing wheels, pneumatic down pressure springs and a number of other recently introduced items.”

2. They purchased a new John Deere 1560 drill to use along with a 15-foot John Deere 750 drill in order to no-till 1,700 acres of soybeans on a timely basis this year.

“We plugged up holes on the two drills to plant two rows of soybeans 7 1/2 inches apart with a 15-inch space between these twin rows,” says Gunderson. “We’re hoping the twin…

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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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