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Some 25 years ago, the Hundley farm at Champlain, Va., was a modest operation at just 300 acres. Today, with the help of no-till, Jay and Robert Hundley have grown their acreage 20 times to a bustling corn, soybeans and small grains operation of 6,000 acres.
While Jay and Robert’s father and grandfather no-tilled double-crop soybeans into wheat stubble as far back as they can recall, this latest generation began no-tilling corn into soybean stubble in the mid-80s.
When hog prices went south in the early ‘90s, the family put all of its focus on crop production. No-till has helped them grow while keeping a lid on inputs.
“We’ve cut back on the horsepower of our tractors some,” Jay says. “Without no-till, we’d probably need two more tractors. We’ve sold nearly all of our tillage equipment.
“If we were working our land now, we’d need two or three more employees to get it all done.”
While no strangers to no-till, the Hundleys are always looking for ways to be more efficient. In 2008, they focused on eliminating broadcast nitrogen.
“We run starter on our corn planters and we’ll put 40 to 50 pounds of nitrogen down the row along with some phosphorus,” Jay says. “Then we sidedress the rest of the nitrogen into the ground.
“I felt we were losing too much nitrogen with it being tied up in all of that trash. And usually when we’re out there sidedressing in May, the wind is blowing and it’s…