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What I've Learned From No-Tilling: An Advocate Of More Conservation With No-Till

Ray McCormick wants to encourage more no-till farming and preservation of natural resources, while pushing up productivity.

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NAME: Ray McCormick

LOCATION: Vincennes, Ind. (McCormick Farms, Inc., Knox County, Ind., and Lawrence County, Ill.)

YEARS NO-TILLING: 22

ACRES NO-TILLED: 2,200 (Also manages 1,000 acres of woodlands and wetlands for wildlife)

CROPS NO-TILLED: Corn, Soybeans, Wheat, Cover Crops

Nothing pays better than conservation. That’s the motto and mission of McCormick Farms, Inc. We run a diverse operation that has been farmed by multiple generations of our family in the Wabash Valley of southwestern Indiana and southeastern Illinois.

Starting in June 1987, we developed a 4,000-acre system that integrates no-till corn, wheat, soybeans and cover crops with more than 1,000 acres of woodlands and wetlands, part of which is managed for waterfowl hunting and whitetail deer habitat.

Soil and water conservation have been primary drivers for achieving dramatically higher crop yields, unbelievable wildlife populations and much-improved farm profits.

I’m very proud and pleased with the nutrient management program we developed that economically delivers what crops need for optimum yields in a timely manner, with minimum risk of environmental harm.

Besides agricultural benefits, these diverse activities have resulted in a wetlands consulting, design and construction business. We keep busy in late summer with wetland restoration and mitigation projects. And we grow and market peaches from the same hill my great-grandfather first grew them on.

Steps To No-Till Success

As veteran no-tillers know, continuous no-till that consistently works usually takes several years and careful planning to develop.

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My first lessons came when I no-tilled soybeans with a rented drill…

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Ron Ross

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