At No-Till Farmer we often tell readers that we can share with you the ingredients for successful no-till practices, but to make them work on your farm, you need to write your own recipe.

This is a recognition that every farm is different — a fact that is sometimes lost when there’s a debate about which farming system, or set of tools, is best for no-tilling. Climates differ. Soils differ. Methods that work on one farm may, or may not, work as well on another operation.

At an online forum, BeckAgConnects, our No-Till Notes columnist, Dan Davidson, recently discussed what kind of no-till system produces results on his Nebraska farm. He cites no-till, cover crops, vertical tillage, applications of manure and gypsum as keys to the success he’s had.

But even within a farm, fields can perplex. He cites one 160-acre field in continuous no-till that consistently underperforms, and another 80-acre no-tilled field that has gone from “worst to first” in terms of crop yields and soil fitness, and exceeds expectations for production.

“The question is can I extend that same fitness to the worst field if we incorporate the right techniques?”

You can read Davidson’s thoughts on this issue, and some passionate responses about the idea of “perfect” soils, by reading the article.

And feel free to scroll down to the bottom and chime in with your own comments on how you’ve built your quality no-till soils over the years.

Regardless of how you no-till, be proud of the fact you’re doing something to leave farms in better shape for the next generation — and, hopefully, helping our your own bottom line as well.

John Dobberstein,
Managing Editor
No-Till Farmer