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TO SAY SOILS on John Hundley’s farm are difficult might be somewhat of an understatement, and paired with Mother Nature’s fickleness that makes his management decisions even tougher.
He typically likes to apply fertilizer in March ahead of his corn and full-season soybeans, but this spring he was delayed because of standing water in his fields.
Last July, he double-cropped soybeans late into muddy wheat fields on 300 acres because spring rains pounded the fields. The soybeans came up through the quagmire, much to his surprise.
“If it wasn’t for no-till I couldn’t have planted them. It wouldn’t have been possible,” Hundley says.
A good year for corn in Hundley’s area is 175-180 bushels an acre, but Hundley has eclipsed the 200-bushel mark. He’s typically raising double-crop soybeans at 40-50 bushels an acre, full-season soybeans at 45-70 bushels and wheat at 80-100 bushels.
“No-till has been working good for me the last 10-15 years now,” he says. “I’m seeing more organic matter building up, and more earthworms under the soil surface.”
Hundley no-tills 1,400 acres near Center Cross, Va., about 45 miles northeast of Richmond and in close proximity to the Chesapeake Bay region.
A third-generation farmer, he typically raises 450 acres of corn, 500 acres of full-season…