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Building a Sustainable Hybrid No-Till, Strip-Till System

From interseeding cover crops to strip-till to adopting precision technology,the Grubbs family is improving their soils and increasing crop yields.


Pictured Above: FINDING LIFE. Thanks to conservation tillage and adding cover crops to the system, Gerard Grubb has seen life return to his soils. He started seeing earthworm middens in his fields 3 years after he began no-tilling. Organic matter levels are around 4-5%. But he says there are still improvements to be made. “I feel the soil biology is the one thing that we’re just not 100% on yet.”

Gerard Grubb admits that one of the reasons he became interested in no-till was because he simply didn’t want to plow.

“I’m a lazy man farmer,” he says. “I can’t stand plowing.”

His father had been the one who plowed their Mildmay, Ontario, farm from when it was purchased in 1978 until 1982. After that, Gerard and his brother farmed together and Gerard decided to try discing instead, which he continued doing into the late 1990s.

Around that same time, he kept hearing about soil tilth.

“If you had a dry year, it was all due to soil tilth then,” he says. “I could see in the discing, the material leaving ground. So I’m going, ‘How do we keep that here? Working with the soil tilth then, how do we build that up?’”

He learned that building soil tilth was all about soil carbon, so his main goal since the late ’90s and early 2000s has been increasing that. He started with no-till in 2000, after he and his brother split up and he was down in equipment.

Today, Gerard…

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Laura-allen_c

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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