Having no-tilled for over 25 years, Illinois grower Randy DeSutter knows the benefits of nutrient replenishment, decreased soil erosion and lower machinery costs associated with his farming practices. He simply uses his local Henry County corn and soybean yield averages to gauge his success.
“I always compare my yields to the county averages. Last year we were about 10 bushels better on soybeans and 25-30 bushels better on corn than the county average. That’s what I use my yardstick against,” says DeSutter, of Woodhull.
The 2016 averages in Henry County were 208 bushels per acre for corn and 61 bushels for soybeans.
Prompted by the 1985 Farm Bill that required farmers with highly erodible land to have a conservation plan, DeSutter saw no yield drop after adopting no-till in those initially targeted erodible lands, so it convinced him to go 100% no-till soon after.
Between all of the family members, including his brothers Jim and Mike, son Matthew and nephew Drew, the DeSutters manage 5,600 acres of 50/50 soybeans and corn.
Last fall the Illinois Corn Growers Association was offering financial incentives to seed cover crops, a program with a stated goal of helping farmers reduce nitrate (N) losses by 15%…