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Developing No-Till Success with Focus on Nutrients and Soil Health

Mentorship from an experienced no-tiller and a keen focus on healthy plants and soils are helping young Indiana farmer Dayne Jessup develop a solid no-till system.

For young people who don’t come from a farm family but want to get into farming, the challenges of getting started can seem insurmountable, as the cost of land and equipment are almost prohibitive for someone starting with nothing. 

But first-generation farmer Dayne Jessup, who farms near Sheridan in north-central Indiana, is making a go of it and no-till is an integral part of that equation. 

Though his grandfather had been a farmer, his retirement in 2003 — when Jessup was just 13 — seemed to close the door on that option. 

But Jessup had the good fortune of meeting Alan Lyon, a longtime no-tiller who introduced him to no-till practices while he was in college pursuing a teaching degree. Since 2014, Jessup has been gradually picking up rented land and buying used equipment. 

Pushing Nutrients

Today, Jessup and his wife, Jenna, no-till about 450 acres of corn and soybeans, both in 30-inch rows. 

Dayne uses a 12-row John Deere 7000 pulled behind a Deere 4640 tractor. The planter is set up with pin-adjust Yetter row cleaners, single-disc openers and Keeton seed firmers. The Schlagel spiked closing wheels Jessup’s been using are being swapped out for Copperhead Furrow Cruisers for the 2020 planting season. A Precision Planting 20/20 monitor helps with seed and fertilizer placement and mapping.

For corn, Jessup uses the Maximum Farming System by Ag Spectrum, which is driven by zones created by soil sampling. At planting, he applies 15-20 gallons per acre of 28% UAN in a…

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Julia gerlach web

Julia Gerlach

Julia Gerlach is managing editor of No-Till Farmer. She has a lengthy background in publishing and a longtime interest in gardening and mycology. She graduated with a B.A. in music and philosophy from Alverno College in Milwaukee, Wis.

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