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AT 29 YEARS OF AGE, Nick Jorgensen has never operated any tillage equipment. Inspired by the native prairie system in south central South Dakota, his family began implementing no-till practices in the 1980s that are now helping them dramatically trim costs.
Located at Ideal, S.D., Jorgensen Land and Cattle Co. includes a highly diversified cash crop and beef cattle operation on nearly 13,000 acres of no-tilled ground along with 7,000 acres of native prairie grazing ground.
When it comes to explaining the cost-savings, Nick has the records to back up how no-till and soil health save $100 per acre and $350 per head annually in their beef cattle operation.
1. No-till saves $50 per acre on fuel and equipment costs.
2. Grazing cattle on cash crop and cover crop acres cuts feed and manure management costs by more than $2 per day.
3. Having a hoof on every acre increases soil organic matter by an average of 0.75% per year, reaching 5% organic matter on much of their crop ground over the last 15 years.
4. Increased organic matter reduces fertilizer costs by $50 per acre without any…