Steve Tesarik

Succeeding with strip-till requires discipline along with a little bit of daring. Getting his first taste of the practice in 1988, Whitelaw, Wis., farmer Steve Tesarik has spent more than 30 years gradually putting the pieces of a profitable system together, mixing mechanical ambition with agronomic instinct.

Farming 450 acres of corn for silage, soybeans and wheat, Tesarik, his son, Alex, and wife Carrie, take pride in making modifications with purpose, leveraging comparative field trials and test plots to assess ROI.

“We’ve done strip-till soybean plots in the past and found that over-seeding soybeans is detrimental to yield. We tend to keep our soybean populations low,” Tesarik says. “I’ve got a 50-acre field that we’ve gotten soybean populations down to 65,000 seed per acre compared to as high as 250,000, and the low populations have won out in terms of yield, when we’ve planted in April.”

During a classroom session at the 2019 National Strip-Tillage Conference, Aug. 1-2 in Peoria, Ill., Tesarik will detail how he’s transformed his fleet of equipment — including 4 planters — to complement his fertility goals, weed control program and yield objectives.

During a post-conference soil health workshop, “Seeing is Believing: A Visual Validation of Soil Health,” conference attendees will join former USDA soil scientist and founder of Wetland and Soil Consulting Services, Frank Gibbs, in at a nearby farm for a unique and eye-opening demonstration of soil health. Gibbs will conduct his famous “smoking tile” experiment which provides a visual analysis of soil structure, quality and earthworm activity. This workshop costs an additional $99 to attend. Attendees may sign up online or by calling (866) 839-8455 or (262) 432-0388.

The 6th annual National Strip-Tillage Conference will be held at the Embassy Suites by Hilton East Peoria Riverfront Hotel & Conference Center and feature 2 days of strip-till education through an array of thought-provoking general sessions, strategy-packed strip-till classrooms and highly collaborative strip-till roundtable discussions.

For more information and to register for the conference, visit

Title sponsors making the learning and networking opportunities possible for strip-tillers include AgroLiquid, Copperhead Ag, Dawn Equipment Co., Environmental Tillage Systems, Ingersoll, Kuhn Krause, Montag Mfg., Orthman Mfg., Schlagel Mfg., Topcon Agriculture, Vulcan Equipment and Yetter Mfg. Co. All 12 companies will exhibit during the 2-day educational event.