4 Money-Making Techniques For No-Tillers

Narrow rows, nitrogen rates, compaction reduction and plant populations are some of the things that Marion Calmer says no-tillers can focus on to earn more than $100 per acre.

No-tillers should consider four techniques to make more money on their farms, Marion Calmer told attendees at this year’s National No-Tillage Conference in Des Moines, Iowa.

Calmer, an Alpha, Ill., no-tiller, has conducted onfarm research for 25 years at the Calmer Agronomic Research Center and says the following techniques can make no-tillers more than $100 per acre

  • Using narrow rows for corn and soybeans
  • Reducing compaction
  • Analyzing corn’s economic response to nitrogen
  • Choosing planting populations in corn

Narrow Rows

For corn, Calmer says there’s a yield advantage of 12.3 bushels per acre for using a 15-inch row spacing compared to 30-inch rows. At $3.25 per bushel, 15-inch rows produce $40 per acre more than 30-inch rows. Narrow rows canopy more quickly, saving no-tillers about $20 per acre on herbicide costs, he adds.

Narrow row corn can be planted and harvested faster, Calmer says, estimating this improves profits $10 per acre. And he says the increased yields and biomass from narrow-row corn reduce soil erosion and create more organic matter, adding another $10 per acre.

These benefits from no-tilling corn on 15- and 20-inch-row spacings can produce an additional $80 profit per acre alone, Calmer says.

Calmer did a 2-year study of Roundup Ready soybeans no-tilled on 45-, 30- and 15-inch row spacings. The 45-inch rows average yield 53 bushels per acre…

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Dan Zinkland

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