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Whether it's irrigation or dryland acreage, Tyler Franklin doesn’t believe high corn yields and no-till are mutually exclusive.
In fact, he’s found integrating no-till and cover crops on the family farm in eastern Virginia is saving valuable moisture and nutrients for his high-yielding corn.
He’s come close the last 2 years to hitting 300-bushel corn on both dryland and irrigated fields, without relying on tillage to manage heavy soils. No-till has been the rule on their farm for more than 20 years.
“I like looking down through the soybean crop and seeing last year’s corn crop, and sometimes you can find the soybean crop prior to that,” says Franklin, a sixth-generation farmer. “My main thing is to not disturb the environment below the ground. And I want water to infiltrate as fast as possible and not run off the soil surface.”
Franklin and his father, Robert, no-till corn, soybeans and wheat on 1,000 acres near Tappahannock, Va., in the Chesapeake Bay region. About 40% of their corn and soybean acres are irrigated.
Situated near the Rappahannock River, about 60% of their fields are sandy loams and 40%…