“No-till, no yield.” Ask any farmer who uses no-till in his management system, and he’ll probably tell you that one of his conventional-till neighbors has uttered this phrase when asked why he doesn’t try no-till.
The fact is: When it comes to raising soybeans, no-till certainly has no yield issues.
The editors of No-Till Farmer have annually asked their readers to voluntarily complete a detailed survey, which includes questions that delve into yield performance of soybeans with various tillage systems. What we’ve found through the years is that the average no-till soybean yield has been 52.75 bushels per acre vs. 52.9 for minimum-tilled soybeans—essentially a statistical non-factor.
Considering the environmental benefits of no-till, plus the potential time savings of planting no-tilled soybeans and the profit potential of reduced field passes, the question isn’t: “Does no-till really work?” The question really is: “How can we be more profitable and productive in our no-till soybean system?”
A few years ago, a good friend of No-Till Farmer and frequent presenter at the National No-Tillage Conference offered to write a special report on production strategies to consider for boosting the yield and income of no-tilled soybeans. Ed Winkle of Hymark Consulting in Martinsville, Ohio, has since passed away, but his 19 considerations for growing no-tilled soybeans are still beneficial reading and offer food for thought.
No-Till Farmer has made this report available as a free, downloadable ebook, so I’d encourage you to spend some time with it. Some key topics covered include:
- Rotational considerations
- Seed selection
- Seed treatments
- Weed, disease, insect and nematode control
- Scouting and root analysis
- Harvest and storage
This free, downloadable ebook also offers articles from university experts and consultants that have appeared within the pages of No-Till Farmer. Topics include a review of soybean fertilization basics, factors to help you push soybean yields to the 100-bushel mark, the value of inoculation, and adjustments to seeding rates, just to name a few.
There’s no need to fear no-till when it comes to growing high-yielding soybeans. Instead, the focus needs to be on learning what to do to get the best results.