What I've Learned From No-Tilling: No-Till Is An Easier Way To Plant

In addition to reducing erosion on highly erodible soils, long-time northern Indiana no-tillers have found that two properly equipped planters and a self-propelled sprayer make them highly effective.

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NAME: R.D. Wolheter (Foxwood Farms, Inc., operated as a partnership with son, Neal)

LOCATION: Wolcottville, Ind.


ACRES NO-TILLED: 3,000-plus

CROPS NO-TILLED: Corn, soybeans and, occasionally, wheat

There’s a lot of highly erodible land and many small fields in LaGrange County, Ind. Soil types range from blow sand and gravel to clay loams.

These diverse soils are a double challenge for Foxwood Farms. While the land is prone to water and wind erosion, many fields are also underlain with gravel. Some “stones” take a backhoe to remove.

With no-till, most stones go undisturbed and therefore stay below the surface and out of our way. That’s just one of the many benefits we get from no-till.

I joined the family operation in 1974 with my father and brother, Dennis, after graduating from Purdue University with a degree in agricultural education. I started my own farm in 1975.

It soon became apparent that if I wanted to expand acres and reduce labor and equipment costs — not to mention overcome the erosion and rock challenges — I needed to reduce tractor hours.

Early Innovator

In 1981, I tried my first step away from tillage by renting a no-till corn planter from the Steuben County Soil and Water Conservation District. I liked what I saw and the next year purchased a John Deere six-row, 7000 no-till planter.


The planter had bubble coulters, which worked well, but I was getting sidewall compaction in heavier soils. Over the next…

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Ron Ross

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