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Most growers prefer to test the waters before diving straight into 100% no-till with cover crops.
But Darrell Shover decided to do just that with the influence of his father-in-law, Keith Miller, and the opportunity to participate in the EQIP program. Six years ago he gave up tillage for good and had cover crops flown on nearly every one of his 600 acres in Syracuse, Ind., that fall.
That 180-degree turn in management has paid off. Shover, who admits he never kept good records or paid much attention to his field management, watched his average corn yields go from 130 bushels per acre to the 150- to 160-bushel range. Last year he had some fields break 200 bushels, which he says he normally doesn’t see.
Even during the drought in 2012, Shover’s corn reached 140 bushels, which was above average for him.
“I couldn’t get it planted in a timely fashion when everyone else did,” he recalls. “The no-till sure made a difference. It was able to hang…