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.
Some farmers dive headlong into changing their tillage practices. John Macauley, who farms 1,200 acres with his father, Jim, in Groveland, N.Y., is proof that transitioning to no-till can be done in steps.
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.
Holtwood, Pa., no-tiller Steve Groff no-tills pumpkins with this Monosem planter that includes Pequea’s Residue Slicers, which cut through rolled-down triticale and hairy vetch ahead of the row units. He no-tills pumpkins in 45-inch rows between Memorial Day and the end of June.
Needham Ag understands the role of technology in making better use of limited resources within a specific environment by drawing on a wealth of global experience to overcome the challenges facing today's farmers, manufacturers and dealers.