NAME: David Hula
LOCATION: Charles City, Va.
YEARS NO-TILLING: 25
ACRES: 4,800 acres
CROPS: Corn, soybeans, barley, oats, soft red winter wheat and durum wheat
Seed production is our business, so we focus as much on the quality and health of the crop we produce as we do on pushing yields.
My family has been in the seed business since my grandfather founded Renwood Farms in 1937. My brothers, Johnny and Jeff, and I are the third generation to work the farm and have continued to build on our family’s long-standing tradition of producing top quality seed.
Another tradition that stretches deep into our history is no-till. My grandfather and father started no-tilling corn into soybean stubble in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Before planting wheat into corn acres, however, we would still moldboard plow, run the leveling disc twice and then run a coulter packer between the tractor and drill to get rid of the tractor tracks.
In 1987, my dad decided enough was enough and he was going to try no-tilling our wheat, too. He purchased a 7-foot Lilliston no-till drill — which effectively reduced his equipment for this process from three pieces to one — and had me no-till drill wheat in a 67-acre field about 2 miles from the main farm. His theory was if it didn’t work, at least he wouldn’t have to look at it every day.
At the time, Virginia Tech was concerned that no-till would increase the incidence…