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What I've Learned From No-Tilling: No-Till Contributes to Cully Brothers Farm’s Longevity and Economic Success

Erosion, yields and economics led the Cully brothers to try no-till, while improving equipment and crop protection technologies have kept them at it.


Pictured Above: Scott Cully

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NAME: Scott, Ed and Wayne Cully

LOCATION: Jacksonville, Ill.

FARM: Cully Brothers Farm

YEARS NO-TILLING: 26

ACRES: 1,000 acres

CROPS: Corn and soybeans

My family has been dabbling in no-till since the late 1970s. My father, Edward Cully, and uncle, Wayne Cully, have farmed together since 1955 and now, at the ages of 84 and 81, respectively, I think they can at least somewhat credit their continuing career in farming to no-till.

No-tilling not only improved the economics of our farm, it significantly reduced the workload and wear and tear on the farmers themselves. This has allowed Dad and Uncle Wayne to continue being actively involved in the day-to-day workings of the farm well past standard retirement age.

Convincing Results

Our farm is situated in Jacksonville, Ill., about halfway between Springfield and the Illinois River. Our ground runs a little on the hilly side and that, unfortunately, meant a fair amount of erosion issues. When we were using traditional tillage practices on our fields, a heavy rain would lead to a significant amount of topsoil heading off the field with the moisture. A good portion of our then 1,600 acres of cropland was classified as Highly Erodible Land (HEL).

Wayne: Prior to no-till, we installed grass waterways to try and limit the gully and rill erosion that was so damaging to our fields. The waterways helped, but after 3 or 4 years they would fill up with sediment along the edges. Our years…

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Martha Mintz

Contributing Editor

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