Most farmers like to experiment — whether it’s with seed varieties, equipment setups, nutrient management or other variables — but few no-tillers can say that all of their acres are in some form of an experiment during any one growing season.
Matt Sheafer, who’s been no-tilling for 25 years, experiments because he wants to know what his maximum yields can be from a “smaller” farm operation.
Sheafer, a 7th generation farmer, grew up in western Ohio on a grain and livestock farm. After graduating from Purdue University, he eventually found himself in Crown Point, Ind., as an owner of a diesel fuel injection service shop and farming his in-laws’ 150 acres. By his own admission, farming was Sheafer’s “weekend warrior thing,” but his goal had always been to farm full time.
He bought about 320 acres of land outside San Pierre, Ind., in 2003, which eventually expanded into what is now 500 acres of crop, forest and CRP ground. Crops account for 420 acres. After selling the diesel service business in 2014, farming was finally Sheafer’s full-time vocation.