What I've Learned From No-Tilling: No-Till Proving Not To Be a 'Drain' For Illinois Grower

Long-time no-tiller Doug Harford was among the earliest pioneering conservation farmers to break ground on drainage, yield mapping, grid soil sampling and strip-till

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NAME: Doug Harford

LOCATION: Mazon, Ill.



CROPS NO-TILLED: Corn, soybeans

Back in 1973, I never thought I would be a lifetime farmer. But when Dad decided to retire, corn was $4 a bushel and nitrogen was just 3 cents per pound. The future looked bright for agriculture. Most times, it still does.

I figured Dad and I would farm together, at least until I got comfortable taking over. But he had memories of how farming with his father had bruised their relationship and he didn’t want to repeat that mistake.

So, even though he continued to help out around the farm, he never made another management decision.

Thinking back, I’m sure as I went through a time of trial and error, he questioned his judgment many times over!

Our farm has grown to 1,400 acres of cropland plus a 100-acre tree farm operated by my daughter and her husband. While we were growing our cropping program, I also became a drainage contractor and was one of the first to offer the Irri-Drain, a system that can drain or sub-irrigate a field using the same pipe and installation.

This was a hot product during a series of dry years in the Corn Belt. I put on a number of meetings, advising farmers on the correct ways to lay out a drainage system. One of our Irri-Drain systems was installed at a University of Illinois research farm.

Lessons From Jim Kinsella

During a…

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Ron Ross

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