I was born into no-till, you could say. It’s really all I’ve ever known. My grandfather was a big proponent for the environment and was an advocate when my Dad pushed for reducing tillage on our farm in the early 1990s.
In the last 10 years I’ve seen no-till declining in my area. I simply don’t understand it, maybe it’s the draw of recreational tillage as we like to call it, but to me it’s just not sustainable in the long run.
While I only truly count myself as being a no-tiller for the past 8 years since I started farming on my own, I’m no stranger to the practice. Of the 210 acres I farm, all but 38 acres are considered Highly Erodible Lands (HEL). The land my father, Wayne “Buzz” Bindl, farmed was similar and I’m sure this was one of the driving reasons he started no-tilling back in the early 1980s.
WATCHING SOME OF the best soils we owned wash away in a big storm accelerated my family’s move to 100% no-till. My father, James, had tried no-tilling in the late 1960s, starting with soybeans behind the small amount of wheat we grew at that point.
Some of the soils I helped farm as a child in southwestern North Dakota are probably somewhere in South Dakota now. I grew up in the era of wheat and summer fallow. A lot of the ground around here is very sandy and marginal. Did it ever blow when we were tilling. I remember as a kid getting sent with a disc or a drag to try and make it stop blowing. It seemed so futile, and it was.
WHEN WE STEP into our office, soil conservation posters serve to remind us why we do the things we do on our farm. Our soils need to be protected and nourished to keep waterways healthy and the nation’s food supply sustainable.
We’re not farmers, ranchers or loggers — we’re resource managers. That’s one of many mindset shifts our family has made as we transition from generation to generation farming wildly varying terrain near Lewiston, Idaho.
I'm not sure anyone has changed their stance on no-till more than me. As the agronomy manager of Caledonia Farmers Elevator in Michigan, the farmers I advised always looked to me for the solutions to their problems. When the early innovator farmers I worked with started attempting no-till, I watched a lot of failures and I didn’t have any good answers at the time.
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.