Most people in the county do minimum tillage. However, each farmer has a different idea of what constitutes “minimum till”. With continued tillage, there are many costs including up-front expenses like fuel and labor and long-term costs, such as reduced soil structure and increased erosion and compaction.
One way to minimize these long-term costs is to do no-till. No-till reduces input costs and helps to improve soil structure. Some farmers experience slightly reduced yields the first few years of no-till, but those are likely offset by the reduced input costs. More and more farmers are practicing no-till; however, intensive tillage is still very prevalent in Allamakee County. One reason is because tillage has been the common practice for so many years that it is engrained in our farming mentality. The Iowa Learning Farms has a video called Restless Tillage Syndrome that jokes about the “uncontrollable urge to disk your field”. While the video is intended to make you laugh, it should also make you think about whether or not tillage is actually needed on your fields.
With the recent extreme weather conditions, no-till has been very important. In the drought of 2012, many no-till fields had some of the highest yields in the county because the soil had better water holding capacity and more organic matter. In the wet spring of 2013, no-till fields often experienced the lowest erosion rates. These extreme weather conditions are expected to become the norm in the near future, making no-till even more important.
The Iowa Learning Farms has several videos online about converting your planter for no-till .
Several farmers in the county were interviewed regarding their no-till practices. Their information is summarized in the table below. If you click on their names, a more in-depth summary will come up. Please feel free to contact them with questions regarding their no-till set-up and experiences.
|Name||No-till crops||Years of
|Type of planter||Attachments on planter||Contact Information|
|4||White||Row cleaners, spike closing wheels||(563) 380-2365|
|2-3||JD1770 12 row||Row cleaners, furrow openers, posi closing wheels, coulters||(563) 419-3819|
|Andy Stein||Corn-beans||10||White 6100||Trash whippers, posi closing wheels||(563) 568-7539|
|3||John Deere||Closing wheels, coulters||(563) 544-4393|
|Jon & Elmo Hagen||Corn-beans, Beans-corn||20||JD 1760||Floating trash whippers, closing wheels||(563) 535-5000
|Steve & Eric Weymiller||Corn-beans,
|John Deere||Row cleaners, furrow openers, spike closing wheels, coulters||(563) 380-2970 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Ross & Dave Weymiller||Corn-beans, Corn-alfalfa, Beans-corn||7||JD 1790||Row cleaners, furrow openers, press wheels, coulters||Ross:(563) 544-4326|
|Frank Livingood||Corn-corn||3-4||JD 1770MT, Kinze 2600||JD – row cleaners, spike closing wheelsKinze – row cleaners, rubber closing wheels, coulters||Frank_livingood@
|Glenn Griffin||Corn-beans, Beans-corn||24||Kinze||Row cleaners, spike closing wheels, coulters (front)||(563) 380-7104|