STANDING TALL. Though Lucas Criswell was nervous about planting into a green, growing cover, it actually reduced slug damage, delivered soil benefits and the resulting corn crop required slightly less nitrogen than crops planted into smaller residue stands.

Donning No-Till Armor To Save Soils

Lucas Criswell is pushing his 30-year no-till system another step higher by seeding row crops into taller cover crops and using precision technology to safeguard nutrients and the environment.

Check The Specs...

NAME: Lucas & William Criswell

LOCATION: Lewisburg, Pa.


ACRES: 1,800

CROPS: Corn, soybeans, wheat, cereal rye and yellow peas

I wish I could rewind and start over no-tilling with what I know now. The longer we no-till, the more we learn about what was really happening in our fields as we made the transition, and what we could have done then to take our soils farther, faster.

When my Dad, William, started no-tilling he really just did it to save time. He worked off the farm for the post office, so not having to take any extra trips over the field attracted him to the practice.

Years later, we’ve come to realize everything that no-till was doing for our soils, and we’re actively working to amplify those benefits with tools such as cover crops, strategic nutrient management and diverse rotations.

Since adding cover crops we’ve watched our soils improve in leaps and bounds, and we can only imagine how far we’d be now in soil health and performance if we had used them in the beginning.

Looking forward, we want no-till to save us more than just time, as was the original intent. We want it to save our soil, save nutrients and save money. We’re achieving those goals through cover crops and precision management.

Hungry Fields

My Dad and I farm in the Buffalo Valley in Pennsylvania, which is part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. A lot of our acres are very hilly…

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Martha mintz new

Martha Mintz

Since 2011, Martha has authored the highly popular “What I’ve Learned About No-Till” series that has appeared in every issue of No-Till Farmer since August of 2002.

Growing up on a cattle ranch in southeastern Montana, Martha is a talented ag writer and photographer who lives with her family in Billings, Montana.

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