SEEKING CONSISTENCY. With the vast majority of his 4,500 acres in continuous strip-till corn, Jeff Martin is striving for consistent yields of 250 bushels per acre and thinks 300 bushels is attainable through twin rows.

Striving For Lofty Goals With Strip-Till

Illinois father-son partners are seeking to hit consistent yields of 250 bushels after 5 years of highly successful continuous corn.

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NAME: Jeff Martin (Partners With Son, Doug)

LOCATION: Mt. Pulaski, Ill.


ACRES NO-TILLED: 4,500 No-Tilled Crops: Corn, Soybeans+

When I shared our no-till experiences at the 2004 National No-Tillage Conference, we had just made a serious shift from a corn-soybean rotation to continuous corn. After 5 years, we’ve learned a lot about growing corn on corn. Now we’re evaluating new technology that will take our strip-till operation to the “next level,” as I reported in Indianapolis during the 2009 event.

Our target is consistent 250-bushel continuous corn in the next 5 to 10 years. At some point, we’ll set a 300-bushel-per-acre goal.

A brief history of our no-till operation emphasizes an important lesson to new no-tillers: Success doesn’t come overnight. But if you pay attention to details, no-till or strip-till has the potential for higher yields in rotated or continuous corn and more profitability than any other tillage method.

And at the same time, no-till or strip-till can lead you to fun, soil-saving and even moneymaking conservation and wildlife-enhancement activities.


We were among the first in Logan County, Ill., to try no-till. That was in 1982, when we typically planted corn into tilled soybean and wheat stubble. More years than not, strong spring winds carrying loose topsoil cut off the young corn plants like a shotgun blast.

We thought we might see yield drag with no-till, so we were careful to make side-by-side comparisons with conventional tillage those first years. Well…

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Ross ron

Ron Ross

Ron Ross pioneered the “What I’ve Learned from No-Tilling” series that has appeared in every issue of No-Till Farmer since August of 2002. He authored more than 100 of these articles.

A graduate of South Dakota State University’s agricultural journalism program, Ross spent most of his career as a writer and editor.

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