Real Cost Savings with Strip Till + No-Till

One of the common themes we hear from our farmer partners with Iowa Learning Farms is that you do your best thinking and decision-making when prices are low and margins are tight.

Significant cost savings in your farming operation can be realized in the form of reduced tillage. Every pass you make across the field with a tillage tool costs money in terms of labor, fuel, and wear-and-tear on equipment. A recent article in Successful Farming, titled Slash Tillage: Reducing the amount of tillage you do can cut costs, boost yields, and benefit the environment, highlights several farmers from across the Corn Belt who have recently adopted no-till or strip-till into their farming practices and yielded some very positive benefits.


One thing that really stood out to me was the cost savings with strip till. Farmer Dave Delhotal of West Brooklyn, Illinois, noted:



A few additional highlights from the story and words of wisdom:

If you’re thinking of switching to NO-TILL, start with soybeans. Mark Hanna, ISU Agricultural Engineer, notes that tilling ahead of soybeans can be difficult to justify:



No-tilling in corn can be more challenging, admits Hanna. Additional management considerations are a must, which can include installing tiles, adjusting combine settings, changing planter setup, and making shifts in weed control and fertilizer application.

Looking for a middle ground?

STRIP TILL provides the best of both worlds: a 6-12” strip of full tillage within the row to give each seed an ideal seedbed and no-till across the rest of the field. Producers have noted many benefits:


Nutrient management and strip till can also work very well in concert.

Travis Harrison of Wayne, Ohio, uses yield data and soil test results to determine his nutrient application rates and this in integrated right into his strip till operation:


Check out the full story at Slash Tillage: Reducing the amount of tillage you do can cut costs, boost yields, and benefit the environment.

Iowa Learning Farms also offers a number of different resources related to strip till and no-till:

Strip-Tillage Crop Management fact sheet
Strip-Tillage Crop Management video series


Transition to No-Till fact sheet
Converting Your Planter for No-Till Operation video series


Ann Staudt

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