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No-Tiller Goes Against The Grain

Keith Miller runs coulters without row cleaners, plants later than most and no-tills corn into cereal rye — and gets great stands.

What works for one no-tiller may not work for another. Keith Miller’s no-till operation certainly fits that description.

While many no-tillers today use row cleaners without coulters, the New Paris, Ind., farmer keeps the coulters on — and runs without the row cleaners. The fact that Miller uses a cereal rye cover crop ahead of soybeans may not be that unusual, but his use of cereal rye ahead of corn goes against the grain.

Miller is proving that with a minimal investment in equipment upgrades, you can put seed in the ground and get great stands. For example, he added planter units to a New Idea Model 900 double-frame planter originally set up for 8 rows at 38-inch spacings. He now plants soybeans in 19-inch rows — all for just $4,000. He has a similar no-till planter setup that he uses for corn.

Different Approach.

The reason for the way Miller has set up his planters without row cleaners and only coulters has everything to do with the fact that he plants into a dense cereal rye cover crop.

“One answer I got was from Ohio no-tiller David Brandt,” Miller says of why row cleaners don’t work for him. “He said he used cereal rye 10 years ago and that it always caught on his row cleaners. So that was why he didn’t use cereal rye.”

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Helping him to get through dense residue and tight soils is the fact that his 20-inch-diameter, 2-inch wavy coulters are heavy. The front bar…

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Darrell Bruggink

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