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NAME: Bill Crabtree
LOCATION: Morawa, Australia
YEARS TEACHING NO-TILL: 27
YEARS NO-TILLING: 4
ACRES: 7,000 acres
CROPS: Wheat, canola, barley
After years of helping countless farmers make a lot of money, I finally decided to try and make a go of it myself. In 2007 I bought 7,000 acres of farmable ground in northeast Morawa, Australia, and am now officially a no-till farmer and consultant.
I’ve been in countless no-till fields and seen the benefits of the practice, but nothing compares to experiencing it on your own farm. It’s been wonderful to feel my own soil, crumble it and know that 4 years ago I couldn’t crack through it with a screwdriver. With no-till, I can now break my soils apart with my bare hands in the middle of summer, with no rain.
No-till has long been a passion of mine. My efforts to build and improve the practice in Western Australia earned me the nickname ‘No-Till Bill’. When I started working with the western Australian government, no-till wasn’t practiced in western Australia, and even the governmental agencies supposedly backing it weren’t entirely on board. We’ve overcome many obstacles since that time, and adoption rates have topped 90% in western Australia — with 100% adoption in my home county.
A great benefit to no-till was that when land in Western Australia was made available for production, it was mostly the brave, innovative farmers that saw the opportunity and took on the challenge. They had fresh, open minds…