Passing The No-Till Reins

Fewer tractor hours and inputs help ease farm transition from one generation to the next.

 Chris Rodabaugh discovered an extremely effective way to drastically cut his hours in the tractor — by passing the no-till torch to his son, Clint. 

After graduating in 2006 with an ag business degree from Ohio State, Clint bought an 80-acre farm across the road from his parents’ Dunkirk, Ohio, farm. But getting started in farming is no walk in the park, so Clint also went to work for a local seed company and, in 2009, started a new job with Ag Credit.

“I’m trying to use the farm income to pay for the farm and the off-farm income to pay for living expenses,” the newly married Clint says.

It’s a work ethic that will serve him well as he works to take on his father’s 450 acres of no-till corn, soybeans and wheat.

Chris originally bought the farm, which included a farrow-to-finish hog operation, from his uncles in the late ‘70s. Over the years, Chris has implemented no-till and has installed filter strips, planted trees and protected waterways.

One appeal of no-till was the economics.

“We’d been doing a lot of deep ripping of the soil when I first got interested in no-till,” Chris says. “We saw some benefits in terms of drainage, but the economics of no-till was better. It meant not having to buy bigger tractors and spending less money on fuel.”

Today, the main tractor on the farm is Chris’ original 135-horsepower 1979 rig. He says, ironically, that he had to buy a bigger tractor to…

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