NAME: Lucas & William Criswell
LOCATION: Lewisburg, Pa.
YEARS NO-TILLING: 30
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.
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…