What I've Learned from No-Tilling: Evolution To No-Till On Family Farm Pays Off

Iowa innovator links lessons he learned from others with extensive onfarm testing to fine-tune his continuous no-till system.

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NAME: Wayne Fredericks

LOCATION: Osage, Iowa



CROPS NO-TILLED: Corn, Soybeans

My first experience with no-tilling resulted from bad weather and fortunate networking with innovators who set the pace away from tillage. Now, after 19 years of learning, I credit my success with no-till and strip-till to many other people I’ve met along the way.

The transition to no-till started in fall 1991, when heavy rains prevented us from doing any fall tillage. At that time, I normally plowed down 36-inch-row cornstalks and, after a couple of spring tillage passes, planted soybeans with a Tye 15-inch, skip-row drill.

During the winter, I was concerned about how to handle my fields at planting, since spring plowing in our area was usually not a successful option.

Testing The 750 Drill

Circumstances worked in my favor. I’d read about a Minnesota grower who had good luck with the new John Deere 750 no-till drill by seeding soybeans directly into old cornstalks.

So I asked my local John Deere dealer, Randy Norby, for advice. My timing was good because he’d just ordered a 750 to try out. He agreed to plant my soybeans in the spring of 1992.


Randy would become a successful no-tiller on his own farmland, as well as a no-till equipment advocate.

My dad was still farming at that time and, looking back, his biggest concerns were how no-till soybeans would look, what the neighbors would think and how well they would yield…

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Ron Ross

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