Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Pounding the ground

Last night's conversation got my notill juices up again. I just spent weeks trying to explain these concepts in a foreign land. I just wrote a notill blog for

One name came up who farms a lot of ground very successfully. They are the best maintenance of any group I know. They travel a long distance and pound the roads and pound the ground when they get there and make it work.

I will never hold a candle to them and I don't want to. That just isn't my thing but they have made it work. I respect them and hold them in very high regard. You have to find your comfort zone in anything you do.

They get good yields pounding the ground, I just can't justify it or afford it. Any extra trip to make a good seedbed is just wasted in my mind. I remember that fellow telling me he worked a field 13 times this season and my jaw dropped and my mind went back to 1963 when I was a freshman FFA student.

They started notilling beans years ago and eliminated a lot of trips. 70% of the beans in this country are notilled but only about 25% of the corn. They haven't either so I am in the minority.

I will never forget that rolling, eroded hillside across from the house notilled into corn last year. It was the best crop it ever raised, pushing 220 bushels per acre.

The most we worked rough ground this year was 3 times and one trip notill made the most money. You have to get these old farms level, you know.

Rototilling my garden is one thing but I can't afford that on 1000 acres. I can't afford to pound the ground to pieces.

So what is your take on this?


Ed Winkle


  1. Actually, using a rototiller in your garden is not the best technique. The rotating tines leave a compaction layer. They also fluff up the top two inches and bring up weed seeds. The loose soil on top of the compaction layer allows moisture to escape and the compaction prevents water from getting to the roots.
    You really only need to work the ground right around the plants. You can run a lawnmower between the rows. Or put down cardboard or old news papers to suppress weeds.
    Note-I have never actually made that concept of minimum garden tillage work-but it sounds really good!

  2. I know that but everyone does it, LOL.

    I would have a notill garden but she won't let me.

    Ever read Ruth Stout's book on gardening notill style?

  3. Good book - worth the read, but it was years ago for me.

  4. I need to dig it back out. I think it is here somewhere after 3 moves since I bought it.

    Talk about farming ugly in some peoples minds, this is it!