Huey Meier admits that before committing to no-till, he couldn’t have cared less about growing corn.
Running a cattle operation of about 1,100 head in Dakota, Ill., the first thing Huey had his son, Matthew, take over when he returned from college in 2002 was the farm’s 500-plus acres of continuous corn.
Matthew became interested in no-till after seeing a YouTube video that showed water running off a conventionally tilled field, while a no-till field next to it had no runoff. He says their area misses a lot of rains and he wanted to increase their soil’s water infiltration.
So Huey attended the National No-Tillage Conference in Cincinnati in January 2015 to learn more about the practice and returned with a determination to make no-till — and cover crops — work.
“It’s like I went through a religious revival or something,” he says. “Now it’s all about the soil health.”
The Meiers dove into no-till 100% that spring. Matthew planted the corn with a used White planter they refurbished.
That first year they ran it with Yetter row cleaners and rubber closing wheels. While they were satisfied with the row cleaners, Matthew says the rubber closing wheels struggled to close the seed trench in some spots. A friend of his who no-tills uses Schlagels on his planter, so Matthew decided to try them next.
TRIAL AND ERROR. Huey Meier examines a field seeded with annual ryegrass and crimson clover in 2015. While Huey and his son, Matthew, didn’t…