Cutting Cost With No-Till

In farming today one of the main objectives is to lower costs.  One of the ways to lower  cost is through the process of no-till farming.  The definition of no-till farming is a way of growing crops or pasture from year to year without disturbing the soil through tillage.

no till
Here you can see the left over residue of previous crops.


This way of farming lowers cost in several different aspects.  There is no expensive overhead with the outrageous prices of large machinery that only serves one purpose, and that purpose being tilling ground.  Also if you are not tilling your ground, you do not have to buy expensive tillage equipment.  This also means that you are not burning as much fuel because you are in the field half the amount of time.

Something else to consider is the fact of wear and tear on equipment.  This means all the maintenance that is required to keep equipment going, hours on the machinery, and value of the machine itself.  Less work means less maintenance and less hours on a machine.  So this means that there is less money spent on oil, filters, parts, new equipment, and endless expenses that can be minimized by simply not using it as much.

Another factor that comes into play is the cost of labor.  If there is no one that has to be in a tractor tilling ground than the farmer is saving money by not having to pay someone to till up his/her fields.  This also means there is more time to do other things that could benefit the farm and make the farmer more money

Both farms that I work on are 100 percent no-till operations.  I enjoy seeing the differences in a tillage operation of the neighboring farmers who essentially work their ground to death.  The farmers I work for have more time on their hands to do other things such as raise cattle that can earn them money so that they have multiple sources of income year round.

buffy in the combine
Alan Covert and his grandson

I asked my boss Alan Covert what it was like going to a no-till operation on his family farm. He told me “well it was a hard thing to convince my dad to not work his ground.”  He explained it like this, “It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks, and when someone has done something their whole life the exact same way it is hard to change their mind.” He simply stated this “He said I do half the work to grow great crops and spend a fifth of what I used to per acre to grow these crops, It is a no brainer” he stated.


kyle and kynaHello mine Name is Kyle Kreps and I am a senior at Western Illinois University.  I am majoring in Ag Business and upon completion I will be seeking employment in the agriculture community.  I did not grow up on a farm as my grandpa had a small farm when I was growing up, but sold out when I was young.  I have always worked on a farm and I love it. I knew that after I obtained my associates from Spoon River College that I wanted to pursue and further my education in the agriculture field.


2 thoughts on “Cutting Cost With No-Till

  1. Sarah Reihm

    Kyle, very interesting! No-till isn’t utilized enough. Good to hear a side straight from someone spending time on a no-til farm.


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