No-Till History Articles & News

The No-Till History digital archive to commemorate no-till’s historic year in 2022 is made possible by Montag Manufacturing.

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Enjoy a stunning and unique collection of no-till stories, photographs, facts, and figures chronicling the history of no-till farming from the early years through today. This extraordinary hardbound book is over 400 pages and takes a decade-by-decade look at the world of no-till as seen through the eyes of those who observed the many changes in no-till since the first commercial U.S. plot in 1962. Learn more about "From Maverick to Mainstream: A History of No-Till Farming" and information to order here.

Read articles and news items below, or view the full no-till historical archive.


John E. Franz of Monsanto

John E. Franz & the Glyphosate Discovery

With no prior cropping knowledge, John Franz was an unlikely candidate to permanently change agriculture’s fortunes in 1970 – when all other Monsanto chemists wanted no part of a dying research project.
With virtually no prior cropping knowledge, John Franz was an unlikely candidate to permanently change agriculture’s fortunes in 1970 -- when all other Monsanto chemists wanted no part of a dying research project.
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Herbicide History, Part II: No-Till Rallies on Roundup

No-till’s greatest growth came with the discovery of glyphosate as a weedkiller, and growers started to ‘park the plow.’
Glyphosate (or Roundup) brought to market by Monsanto in the mid 1970s and now owned by Bayer) is a virtually ideal herbicide, says international weed authority Dr. Stephen Powles and a “once in 100-years breakthrough.”
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No-Till’s Herbicide History, Part I

No-till was a ‘no-go’ until modern weed-control chemicals arrived on the scene.
When No-Till Farmer (NTF) got its start in 1972, its pages were filled with tips on how to make herbicides like paraquat, atrazine, 2,4-D, Princep and Banvel (an early dicamba formulation) work in no-till systems. In Part 1 of this series, we’ll look at the most important early herbicides for no-tillers.
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North Carolina Shares in No-Till History, Too

Kentucky isn’t the only state to mark a no-till first. North Carolina claims one of its own farmers also put their no-till crop in during 1962.

The no-till history research this year -- celebrating 60 years of the commercial practice -- turned up several new discoveries. Last fall, we came across what some believe to be the first no-till planter. We were aware of the unit, but its name had escaped us in other coverage, a reference was found on an industry message board that led to a No-Till Farmer report on the McCormick Till Planter.

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Squaring Away Generational Differences on the Plow

The great-grandson of Walter T. Jack provides a personal yet conflicted history on the famed debate that defended and condemned the plow.

Not as well-known to no-tillers as Plowman’s Folly and its heralded author/champion Edward H. Faulkner was the responding book that contradicted it. Iowa’s Walter T. Jack boldly defended the moldboard plow against Faulkner in The Furrow and Us, released in 1946, with prose every bit as powerful as that of his nemesis.

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