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It's not that Ray McCormick wants to deal with vast amounts of water each growing season. The Vincennes, Ind., no-tiller really doesn’t have a choice.
McCormick no-tills 1,800 acres of specialty white corn and soybeans in an 80-percent, river-bottom operation. The remaining 20 percent of the operation covers rolling hills with high knolls.
No-till is McCormick’s key weapon in overcoming the wetness of the river-bottom environment.
“It’s treacherous,” McCormick says of his situation. “It floods often. I’ve been flooded out of four corn crops the last three years, so I deal a lot with no-tilling into wet conditions.”
Standing water often covers much of McCormick’s land. He’s often left drilling into muddy, wet conditions after water subsides. McCormick, who calls himself the best wet no-tiller in the country, handles the situation by moving from field to field, planting selected areas.
“If I’ve got a 15-, 20- or 30-acre spot out in a 100-acre field that is dry enough to plant, I get it done,” explains McCormick. “Then I head down the road with my 16-row planter folded up and get to the next spot. We go from spot to spot planting, hitting the high knolls first. You have to go from field to field to get that early start.
“If you’re no-tilling, why wait?” he asks. “When is it too wet to plant? When you can’t pull the planter across the ground.”
McCormick calls in a fertilizer company after several patches are planted. Detailed field maps are faxed…