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What I've Learned From No-Tilling: Negotiating Challenges and Opportunities When Combining No-Till and Dairy

Cover crops and strategic nutrient-cycling rotations help manage manure, while twin-row cropping tackles late-germinating weeds.


Pictured Above: From l-r: Kent, Ethan, Ben, and Zach Stuckey

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NAME: Kent Stuckey

LOCATION: Bucyrus, Ohio

FARM: Pfeifer Dairy Farms LLC

YEARS NO-TILLING: 10+

ACRES: 900

CROPS: Corn, Soybeans, Cereal Rye, Vegetables

In the last 10 years I’ve seen no-till declining in my area. I simply don’t understand it, maybe it’s the draw of recreational tillage as we like to call it, but to me it’s just not sustainable in the long run. 

When commodity prices where high a few years ago guys that were no-tilling started chasing that money and figured they could get a few more bushels if they tilled. Now that the farm economy has seen a downturn I expected to see people returning to no-till. Instead they’re still tilling away.

I’ve watched a corn stubble field this spring get worked three times before soybeans were planted. In my opinion, it’s going to take a lot of extra bushels of soybeans to make up for all that wasted fuel, labor and wear and tear on the tractor.

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ACCURATE VEGETABLES. The Stuckeys use a small Monosem planter to no-till green beans into a cereal rye cover crop. The cover helps prevent weeds in their vegetables and provides a clean bed for the fruit of their squash and pumpkin plants. The accuracy of the produce planter led the family to purchase a Monosem when a new planter was needed for their row crops.

It was the economics of no-till that first pushed me toward fully adopting…

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Martha Mintz

Contributing Editor

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