No-Till 101

New to no-till? Gather more about the basic principals of no-till systems, and how to overcome the initial challenges to successfully convert to the practice. You'll find stories of successful no-tillers and their operations. Read how they overcame their challenges.

My No-Till Journey

The "My No-Till Journey" blog is where farmers who are newer to no-till practices share how they tackle challenges and push to succeed. Throughout the next year, Kalispell, Mont., grower Doug Manning shares his journey to implementing no-till on his farm, where he raises wheat, barley, peas and canola. Feel free to leave comments, or tips about succeeding with no-till, at the conclusion of each post.

  • Tackling Challenges with First Year No-Till
    June 22, 2015
    Doug Manning will begin sharing his journey as he adopts no-till practices on his Montana farm — in an area that sees little or no reduced tillage. Manning no-tills wheat, barley, peas and canola and looked overseas to buy a drill that works for him.
  • Choosing The No-Till Path
    October 22, 2014
    Even though members of the community recognize the need for greater efficiencies and improved soil health, many are unwilling to take the risks to adopt the new practices. Until multiple years of obvious positive results (i.e. higher yields, drought resistance, lower input costs) are apparent, many will be unwilling to change. But on my farm, the journey to implementing no-till practices continues, and I look forward to sharing my story with you.

No-Till 101: An Interview with No-Till Farmer Founder Frank Lessiter

In this three-part video series, associate editor Laura Allen interviews No-Till Farmer founder and editor Frank Lessiter about no-till, the key moments that have impacted its movement, his achievements in promoting the practice, and what he sees happening with the future of no-till.

Go to: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3


Just getting started in no-till? Here are some introductory articles...

Accepting And Conquering The No-Till Challenge

"No-Till fascinates me. It appeals to the part of my personality that likes a challenge." Ohio no-tiller Keith Kemp


Video: Tips For Farmers Planting Cover Crops For The First Time

Terry Taylor, Illinois no-tiller, shares tips for those incorporating cover crops into their rotation for the first time.




Breaking Through to the ‘Root’ Cause of Compacted Soil

Soil compaction can limit yields, cause flooding and runoff and limit nutrient uptake in plants. But breaking up compacted soils with iron is not the answer, according to soil health consultant Jim Hoorman — biology is.
Soggy fields and heavy grain carts are a common combination in fall, and can lead to deeply rutted and compacted fields. And it’s no joke. Soil compaction can reduce yields by up to 60% and it’s been shown to persist for up to 9 years, according to Jim Hoorman.
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farm landscape

So How Much is No-Till Worth? Calculating the Value of No-Till in Land Rental, Sales

Land appraisals don’t take management practices into account, but they should, says Paul Overby. The no-tiller and student of sustainability practices is on a quest to get the benefits of no-till and cover crops hard-coded into the appraisal system.
As a No-Tiller, do you know how much value — if any — no-till practices bring to your land? In terms of actual dollars, what is the value of increasing soil organic matter, improving water infiltration or installing drain tile? And are these factors top of mind when purchasing or renting land?
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Scenes from the Palouse

Back in 2010, No-Till Farmer editor Frank Lessiter and his son, Mike, traveled to the Palouse area of eastern Washington to visit John Aeschliman, who’s been successfully no-tilling in the region for more than 40 years. Named one of the 25 No-Till Living Legends, no-till has allowed Aeschliman to successfully farm in an area that receives as little as 12 inches annual moisture and has slopes as steep as 60%.

Click on the articles below to learn more about Aeschliman’s operation.

No-Till Works Under Tough Conditions

What I’ve Learned from No-Tilling: Do More With Less!


How Do You Say No-Till?

Click through the signs to learn how to say no-till in different languages.

25 No-Till Living Legends

As part of the 25th anniversary of the National No-Tillage Conference, the staff of No-Till Farmer honored 25 active individuals who have made no-till work and grow over the years. The 25 Living Legends are listed in alphabetical order.


NNTC16 Audio Presentations

5 Lessons from No-Tilling in California - Michael Crowell - NNTC 2016 Presentation - MP3 Download


With 270 acres of irrigated, double-cropped land, as well as 375 acres of hilly, dryland farm ground, converting to no-till wasn’t always an easy transition for Michael Crowell. In this presentation, the Turlock, Calif., no-tiller talks about the steps he took to reclaim abused soils that were worked wet continuously and how he made irrigated land respond positively to no-till. Crowell also discusses what he did to improve the calcium-to-magnesium ratios for better soil structure, what’s worked — and what hasn’t — in regards to fertility and things to be careful of when converting planters to no-till so that you achieve the right setup.

NNTC16 Audio Presentations

20-Plus Years of No-Till and Keys to Thriving for Another 20 - Mike Wolpert - NNTC 2016 Presentation - MP3 Download


In his 40 years of farming, Mike Wolpert has no-tilled for more than 20 of them. In this presentation, he discusses what’s worked and what hasn’t over the past two decades. The West Virginia no-tiller also shares his 7-step plan for keeping your no-till operation thriving for another 20 years: how to establish your farm’s mission; adjust your attitude for success; become goal-oriented; create action plans for long- and short-term goals; assess your results; and adapt your plans for future improvement.

NNTC16 Audio Presentations

Building a Competitive Advantage with No-Till - Dan DeSutter - NNTC 2016 Presentation - MP3 Download


In an industry driven by marginal cost of production, how do you build a competitive advantage that will allow your operation to earn an economic profit consistently? How do no-till, cover crops and active soil biology combine to enhance long-term results? After recently completing an Eisenhower Fellowship in Australia and New Zealand, no-tiller Dan DeSutter of Attica, Ind., shares his adventures in soil health and discuss the relationship between regenerative agriculture and building a profitable business.

NNTC 2015 Speaker Presentation

Tackling Challenges In A Continuous No-Till System - Roger Harrington - NNTC 2015 Presentation - MP3 Download


With more than 3 decades experience with continuous no-till, Roger Harrington knows some of the challenges farmers face in making this system work. The Ollie, Iowa, no-tiller raises 1,300 acres of corn, soybeans and alfalfa on rolling ground in southeast Iowa, and will share what he’s done with drainage and soil management to limit erosion and protect highly productive farmland.

NNTC 2015 Speaker Presentation

Why Ultra-Narrow-Row Corn Should Be In Your No-Till System - Marion Calmer - NNTC 2015 Presentation - MP3 Download


For 30 years, Marion Calmer has studied the impact on yields of no-tilling corn in ultra-narrow rows. The Alpha, Ill., no-tiller became so convinced at the benefits that he designed his own corn head to harvest 15-inch rows.

NNTC 2015 Speaker Presentation

Fighting Erosion, Using Waste, Cover Crops, Technology & Other Practices That Make No-Till Tick - Jerry Peery - NNTC 2015 Presentation - MP3 Download


With more than 40 years experience no-tilling, western Kentucky farmer Jerry Peery has faced many struggles and realized triumphs in no-tilling. The owner of Springhill Farms near Clinton, Ky., will provide an overview of the strategies and tactics he implements in his 1,600-acre corn and soybean operation.

NNTC 2015 Speaker Presentation

43 Years of Trying Something Different to Improve a No-Till System - David Brandt - NNTC 2015 Presentation - MP3 Download

When David Brandt went from the fields of Vietnam to the fields of Carroll, Ohio, in 1971, the encouragement of his uncle and grandfather, as well as local consultants and farmers, gave him the push to “try something new.” Thus began a 43-year journey with no-till. View

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