5 Money-Saving Tips For No-Tillers

Lowering soybean seeding rates and scrutinizing phosphate and potash applications top Marion Calmer’s list on how to save more than $100 per acre

With 25 years of onfarm research backing him up, Marion Calmer told 789 attendees at this year’s National No-Tillage Conference in Des Moines, Iowa, that there are five ways no-tillers can shave expenses without hurting grain production.

The Alpha, Ill., no-tiller and owner of Calmer’s Agronomic Research Center says the following five relatively straightforward techniques can save no-tillers up to $125 per acre. They include:

• No-till, $10 savings.

• Reduced phosphate and potash rates, $40

• Lower soybean seeding populations, $10 to $60.

• Reducing cracked grain, $5.

• Reduced harvest losses using auto-steer and combine header auto-height, $10.

Maybe telling no-tillers that no-till saves them money in fuel, labor and machinery is a bit like preaching to the choir, but he says you should not ignore the potential for $10 in savings.

Less Soybean Seed

In Calmer’s replicated on-farm research from 2006 to 2009, seed populations of 75,000 and 100,000 per acre produced the best yields at 60 bushels per acre with 15-inch rows.

Calmer also tested rates of 125,000, 150,000, 175,000 and 200,000 seeds per acre, all of which yielded 59 bushels per acre.

Calmer says every increase of 25,000 seeds per acre cost $10. Based on his results, seeding 200,000 soybeans per acre on 1,000 acres versus a rate of 75,000 seeds per acre cost $60,000, which was $50,000 for extra seed and $10,000 for the 1-bushel-per-acre reduction in yield.

Even the relatively low seeding population of 100,000 per acre on 1,000 acres of soybeans costs…

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Dan Zinkland

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