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Back in 1971, when Grant Corley welded brackets onto a 6-row, 30-inch Case planter to carry Allis Chalmers’ no-till coulters, he was a maverick. Today, he’s a no-till pioneer who is continuing to fine-tune a system that saves soil and inputs without sacrificing bushels.
“I know there were people who thought I was nuts, but I’ve always been committed to soil conservation,” the Westphalia, Kan., farmer explains. “Around here, we don’t have topsoil to spare, so watching it wash away just wasn’t an option.”
Corley has honed his no-till system to meet the exacting standards of soybean and wheat seed production, overcoming challenges by adapting emerging technologies and tapping a wealth of experience.
Dealing with a potentially hostile early season growing environment is the first order of business. Corley actually sees an advantage in no-till fields and manages the crop for optimal emergence and early season growth.
“I don’t know of anything much harsher than seeds trying to germinate from unprotected soil that gets pounded by rain. Residue gives those seeds a much better chance,” he says. “As for disease, I’ve always been a proponent of fungicides — no-till or not. If that seed is worth planting, it’s worth protecting.”
For Corley Seed Farm’s seed-production fields, soybeans are routinely treated with SoyGard L for protection against soilborne seedling diseases, such as fusarium, rhizoctonia, phytophthora root rot and damping off. For wheat seed, fungicides of choice are Apron, Dividend or Raxil MD.
“Seedling diseases will get you if…