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In a lot of ways, Dan and Brian Sutton’s farm operation looks a lot like a typical no-tiller’s from the Upper Midwest. They no-till 1,300 acres of corn and soybeans, mostly on rented land, but they include some alfalfa and wheat to help feed a small herd of cows
They use cover crops — mostly cereal rye, annual ryegrass, radishes, and rape — and have been planting green for 4 years. The 100-acre home place that they own has been in the family since 1862, and the brothers are adamant about their stewardship, always seeking new ways to be more efficient and effective so as to leave the land better off than it was when they started farming.
“We don’t feel that we own the ground,” says Dan. “We’re simply the caretakers, as the previous generations have been, entrusted to pass it along to future generations.”
But that persistent search for a ‘better' way’ also led them to launch AirScout, a precision imagery company that invented Advanced Differential Vegetative Index (ADVI) imagery to improve nutrient strategies, develop better planting prescriptions and even guide harvest priorities on their Lowell, Ind., operation.
Acres: 1,300, mostly rented land
Years in No-Till: 20
Years Planting Cover Crops: 7
Cash Crops: Corn, soybeans
Forage Crops: Alfalfa, wheat
Cover Crops: Annual Ryegrass, cereal rye, radishes, rape
Corn Planter: 16-row Kinze/30-inch rows
Planter Attachments: Row cleaners, closing wheels
Latest Experiment: Enrolled 100 acres of alfalfa in organic production in 2019