Ian Gronau is a Contributing Editor for Lessiter Publications, with primary support responsibilities for Precision Farming Dealer, Strip-Till Strategies and the Strip-Till Farmer Website. He is a graduate of Chicago’s Columbia College and has been preparing content for magazines, websites and newspapers since 2009, and has been recognized with several awards.
An ancestor of the Leroy Bupp’s family likely started farming the land in Seven Valleys, Pa. Bupp currently farms on acres that were originally farmed around the time the 13 colonies declared independence from Britain. Of course, much has changed over the years.
For many farmers, rebuilding the level of organic matter in their soils is a process that can take many years, oftentimes only seeing small gains. But Kennett Square, Pa., no-tiller Jamie Hicks has seen the organic matter in some of his soils rocket from 1% to up to 5% in a relatively short period of time by spreading mushroom compost.
Nancy and Jerry Ackermann have been strip-tilling corn and no-tilling soybeans and alfalfa on their 1,200-acre farm in southwest Minnesota for 15 years. Coming from conventional tillage practices, the transition began on a small 50-acre test plot.
Cory Atkins is a rare example of a young, first generation commercial farmer in an aging and family-centric industry. Although he grew up on a hobby farm with a roadside market and was tutored by an uncle who farms, he has taken it upon himself to obtain a production agriculture degree and expand the acres under his management.
Although Trey Hill has been farming around 10,000 acres in Rock Hall, Md., his whole life, he’s quick to mention that he’s more a student than a teacher. It’s this instinct that leads him to perpetually tweak his nitrogen (N) management and cover-crop program, forever in search of more conservative and efficient techniques for the fourth generation family-run Harborview Farms.
Doug Davenport's 4,000-acre operation reinforces the idea that one size does not fit all for farming. The Kingman, Ind., strip-tiller has spent many years — and plans to spend many more — figuring out field-by-field the best management practices on his farm.
Circleville, Ohio, no-tiller Ryan Wilson discusses the setup for the family's John Deere MaxEmerge no-till corn planter, which includes cast iron closing wheels, Martin row cleaners and Precision Planting's 20/20 AirForce system. They apply about 30 pounds per acre of nitrogen at planting to ensure corn seedlings have enough N after following the cereal rye cover crop.
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