No-Tillers Break Yield Records in 2014

No-tillers set a new high-water mark last year for the No-Till Operational Benchmark Survey by averaging 169-bushel corn and 52-bushel soybeans.

Buoyed by improved weather and planting conditions in most U.S. regions, corn yields rebounded for no-tillers in 2014.

No-Till Farmer readers participating in the 7th annual No-Till Operational Benchmark Study reported harvesting an average of 169 bushels per acre for corn, a record for this survey and an 8-bushel improvement over 2013.

Last year’s 169-bushel average is a vast improvement over the drought year of 2012, when no-till yields hit an all-time low in the annual survey at 134 bushels per acre.

Strip-tilled corn yields also continued a big comeback with an average of 182 bushels per acre, a 10-bushel improvement over 2013 and the highest since strip-tillers recorded 175-bushel average yields in 2009. In 2012, strip-till corn yields averaged 146 bushels per acre.

Minimum tillage corn did not set a record yield last year. The 175-bushel-an-acre average was 3 bushels less than 2013, but that figure is still well above the 162-bushel average yield over the 7 years of the survey.

Corn acres that saw vertical tillage recorded 178 bushels, a 3-bushel increase over 2013, the first year that data was collected.

Corn Belt Success

When corn yields are examined regionally, there were some noticeable differences, and it’s clear the Eastern and Western Corn Belt had it good last year. (See Table 1.)

2014 Average Per-Bushel Yields for Corn Comparison of Corn Yields

The Eastern Corn Belt saw no-till corn average 180 bushels an acre, up 8 bushels from 2013, while the Western Corn Belt averaged 188 bushels, up 17 bushels from the previous year.

At 167 bushels per…

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John dobberstein2

John Dobberstein

John Dobberstein is senior editor of No-Till Farmer magazine and the e-newsletter Dryland No-TillerHe previously covered agriculture for the Tulsa World and worked for daily newspapers in Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Joseph, Mich. He graduated with a B.A. in journalism and political science from Central Michigan University.

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