A veteran no-tiller who’s definitely been successful with both no-tilled corn and soybeans is Dean Holst of Le Claire, Iowa. He’s been so successful that he expected to no-till 5,000 acres of corn and soybeans this spring.
Holst maintains you need to be a better agronomist and manager with no-tilled corn than when no-tilling soybeans.
“A problem is that no-till has been promoted as a system to save you money rather than as a tillage system that can make you more money,” says Holst. “We need to come up with a more consistent management system to make no-till work.
“On our farm, no-till is producing the highest yields possible. No-till gives us better soil tilth, better yields and better returns.”
Holst has settled on a deep-ripping system featuring a farm shop-designed narrow shank to make no-till more productive and to obtain excellent no-till corn stands. In fact, he credits ripping soils with helping maintain consistency with no-tilled corn.
Corn yields for Holst average 180 bushels per acre in 24-inch rows and harvesting only 50-bushel soybean yields in 15-inch rows is considered a crop failure. He’s harvested over 220 bushels of corn and 79 bushels of soybeans per acre in fields entered in the Iowa yield contests.
Holst says farmers will continue to push no-till planters into fields that are too wet. “So let’s fix the problem with deep ripping since we aren’t going to be able to sit still,” he says. “I recommend deep tilling with no-till…