No-Till Notes: Making Sense of Growing Options for Yield Enhancers

The market for seed treatments, foliar nutrients and biologicals is growing at a dizzying pace, but no-tillers can make sense of it by doing some research and asking pointed questions.

GROWERS WANT to increase yield, and do it profitability and consistently. When I talk about increasing yields, I look at it from two perspectives: foundation agronomy and technology add-ons or products.

First, pay attention to optimizing basic agronomy like soil conditions, planting data, seeding method, maintaining the right soil pH and soil fertility levels.

And of course, you have to protect your crop’s yield potential by controlling weeds early and completely, keeping insects at bay and protecting against foliar diseases that can rob bushels.


Keep in mind that products don’t work every time — meaning you won’t always get a yield bump or return on investment. New varieties don’t always outperform older varieties, but most of the time they do. If a product works 60-70% of the time, that’s a sound investment.

Nevertheless growers should think about products that could improve soil health or add bushels to their crop and weigh its value in context to the cost, potential return and priority.

There are many products you can add today, including:

Soil health additives

  • Seed treatments
  • Foliar insecticides
  • Foliar fungicides
  • Foliar nutritionals

Manage Risk

Products to enhance soil health are numerous but can be broken down into a few simple categories: humates, enzymes and microorganisms.

I consider humates facilitators in building soil health, stimulating roots and increasing nutrient uptake. They contain both active and passive carbon and a host of molecules that stimulate organisms and roots.

Today, you can buy microbes in a bottle that contain beneficial fungi and…

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Daniel Davidson

Veteran farm advisor and agronomist Daniel Davidson no-tills near Stanton, Nebraska, and works as a private consultant.

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