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What I've Learned From No-Tilling: Managing Soil Conditions and Plant Health Keeps Yields Climbing

Constant experimentation and evaluation of his no-till equipment and products help Keavin Hill weed out what really works for his farm.


Pictured Above: SPACING OUT. Switching from drills to Kinze planters for soybean seeding allowed Ohio no-tiller Keavin Hill to precisely place increasingly expensive seed 1 inch deep and 2½ inches apart in 15-inch rows. He prefers the 15-inch spacing over 7½ inches, as it's narrow enough for shading early in the season while still leaving room for plants to spread out

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NAME: Keavin Hill

FARM: Hill Farms

LOCATION: Orient, Ohio, and Maysville, Ky.

YEARS NO-TILLING: 32

ACRES: 4,500

CROPS: Corn, Soybeans

I DON’T KNOW if I was just stubborn or what, but I refused to accept that I couldn’t get a good stand through no-till. Now I can happily say we get excellent stands with no-till, but they didn’t come without some growing pains and a lot of tinkering.

Here in central Ohio, I farm a lot of fairly flat acres made up of heavy clay soils. My father and I started toying with no-till in the early 1980s along with several other farmers in the area. We were all just trying to cut expenses and stay in business.

We currently farm about 4,500 acres with 1,500 seeded to corn and the rest to soybeans, which means our rotation consists of 1 year of corn and 2 years of soybeans on some of the ground. However, we try to maintain an every other year rotation on the bulk of our acres.

Our double-crop soybeans after wheat is where we first got our start no-tilling. We liked…

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