Sticking with the Program Rings in No-Till Success

Low-disturbance no-till, terraces and split fertilizer applications are pillars of success for Evan Copsey and Greg and Christopher Biermann.

Pictured Above: NO-TILL TEAM. Evan Copsey (right), his longtime farm manager Greg Biermann (left) and Greg’s son Christopher have used no-till practices, 140 acres of terraced ground and targeted fertility to reduce soil erosion and increase crop yields on their operation in western Missouri.

As a former telephone industry executive who started driving a tractor when he was 9 years old, Evan Copsey was never one to follow the crowd.

Converting a farm to no-till can be a major challenge for those still conventionally tilling. But after buying some land from a telephone industry contact in 1992 to start his farming career, Copsey says it never occurred to him that tillage was necessary.

With a lower capital outlay needed to farm with no-till, Copsey says he could afford to work on growing his farm operation. “I like to buy land rather than machinery. So that’s turned out to be a pretty good decision,” he says. “I’ve always been no-till, don’t know why other than it just made sense. It seemed to me it would be good to let the soil alone and just plant. We got lucky the first year and did good and we never changed.”

Copsey and his farm manager of 25 years, Greg Biermann, credit no-till practices for helping increase corn and soybean yields on the farm. 

“We’re saving on soil erosion, getting our nutrients in the root zone and trying to leave as much residue on the field as possible,” Biermann says. “We’ve seen over the…

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John dobberstein2

John Dobberstein

John Dobberstein is senior editor of No-Till Farmer magazine and the e-newsletter Dryland No-TillerHe previously covered agriculture for the Tulsa World and worked for daily newspapers in Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Joseph, Mich. He graduated with a B.A. in journalism and political science from Central Michigan University.

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