More Acres, Crops No-Tilled in 2016

No-till saw increases across the board in terms of total acres and the percent of corn, soybeans and small grains managed under the practice.

No-tilled acres saw a significant increase among readers in 2016 in comparison to recent years.

Of the 740,000-plus acres farmed by No-Till Farmer readers who participated in the 9th annual No-Till Operational Benchmark Study, around 80% were managed in a no-till system last year, a nearly 7-point jump from 2015. This was also the highest percent seen since 2012’s 78.7%.

Other tillage practices saw a decline in overall acreage. Both strip-tilled and vertical-tilled acres fell by about 2 percentage points from 2015 to 2016, with 8.2% of acres under strip-till management last year and 5% that were vertically tilled.

Minimum-tillage also saw a decline of just over 3 percentage points to 6.6% last year compared to 9.5% in 2015. Moldboard-plowed acres dipped under 0.1% from 0.3%.

The percent of readers using no-till practices remained unchanged at 97%, while strip-till increased slightly from 15% to 16%. The use of vertical tillage continued to fall from 20% in 2014 and 18% in 2015 to 15% last year.

There were also fewer readers using minimum tillage last year, at 23% compared to 30% in 2015. Those using moldboard plowing remained unchanged at 2%.


More Crops No-Tilled

As no-till acreage picked up, so did the percent of corn, soybeans and small grains grown under the practice.

No-tilled corn acres picked up 5 percentage points from 2015, returning to the 67% seen in 2014, while no-tilled soybean acres saw a 4-point increase from 83% in 2015 to 87% last year. Small grains saw the biggest…

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Laura allen

Laura Barrera

Laura Barrera is the former managing editor of No-Till Farmer and Conservation Tillage Guide magazines. Prior to joining No-Till Farmer, she served as an assistant editor for a greenhouse publication. Barrera holds a B.A. in magazine journalism from Ball State University.

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