Jack-Herricks.jpg

What I've Learned from No-Tilling: Achieving Profits and Sustainability with a Properly Cycling System

In this no-tiller’s book, conservation practices must work for your soils and your bank account.

The good thing about Cashton soils is they don’t dry out. The bad thing about Cashton soils is they don’t dry out. That’s the saying around here. It’s partly why I use cover crops like cereal rye. And you know what they say about cereal rye? The good thing about it is it can dry your soils out. The bad thing about it is it can dry your soils out. It’s the perfect match!

In all seriousness, soil is what it’s all about. We want to keep our soil covered, stuck in place and teeming with life. That is certainly a challenge here, where most of our ground slopes from 6-14% and is classified Highly Erodible Land (HEL). The soils are productive if they can be kept in place. When I took over the farm in 1971 after my father’s sudden passing, it had a Farm Service Agency yield rating of 94-bushel corn. Today we routinely harvest 180-190 bushels per acre.

My father had a strong mind for conservation. The fields had long been contoured and planted to alternating strips of row crops and hay with grass waterways. It was a good start, but with conventional tillage it just didn’t protect the soil enough. With HEL soils, erosion is a problem best approached from multiple angles. For me, the first tactic was to switch to no-till. It made a huge difference. Eventually adding cover crops took us to the next level.

In my early years I made the switch from…

To view the content, please subscribe or login.
 Premium content is for our Digital-only and Premium subscribers. A Print-only subscription doesn't qualify. Please purchase/upgrade a subscription with the Digital product to get access to all No-Till Farmer content and archives online. Learn more about the different versions and what is included.

Martha-mintz-new

Martha Mintz

Since 2011, Martha has authored the highly popular “What I’ve Learned About No-Till” series that has appeared in every issue of No-Till Farmer since August of 2002.


Growing up on a cattle ranch in southeastern Montana, Martha is a talented ag writer and photographer who lives with her family in Billings, Montana.

Top Articles

Current Issue

Cover_CTG_April_0420_pub.jpg

No-Till Farmer

Get full access NOW to the most comprehensive, powerful and easy-to-use online resource for no-tillage practices. Just one good idea will pay for your subscription hundreds of times over.

View More

Must Read Free Eguides

Download these helpful knowledge building tools

View More
Top Directory Listings