No-Tiller Taking the Right Angles on Soil Remediation, Cover Crops

Tiling and belief in no-till’s benefits are helping Sheldon Overmyer convert 140 acres of poorly drained land into highly productive cropland for his northwest Ohio farm.

OWING TO THE fact that much of his 1,100-acre farm resides on a relatively flat geological lake bed, Sheldon Overmyer has reaped benefits from the drain tile he’s installed on most of his farm ground. But there’s still a parcel of land that needed his attention.

While the Elmore, Ohio, grower is 100% no-till on his 960 acres of soybeans, this year he’s undertaking the remediation of the 140-acre wheat field that needs contour leveling. 

“We’re in the process of plowing up this acreage of wheat stubble because we’ve got tile ditches from previous tiling projects that are too bumpy,” he says. “They were breaking bolts on the booms of my Hagie hybrid sprayer. We’ll then bring in my land plane and level it as a one-time deal.”

Another reason for these remedies is that he accepted free wastewater treatment byproduct from the city of Toledo, and one of the stipulations for using spread-on, dry product is that it must be incorporated into the soil. The product will add significant amounts of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) to the soil. 

About 100 of the 140 acres already has tile installed, so they are just correcting a portion of the remaining land. Overmyer’s plan, once the area is plowed and leveled, is to plant a cover-crop mix of cereal rye and forage oats, then spread gypsum as the last element.

“I don’t like plowing the field because I lose a lot of carbon, but we’ll get this ground back…

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Mark mcneely1

Mark McNeely

Mark McNeely is the former managing editor of No-Till Farmer and Conservation Tillage Guide magazines. His previous experience includes 25 years in industrial engine journalism and marketing. Mark holds an M.A. in journalism from the University of Wisconsin.

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