Wheat And More ... Or Less
Some no-till enthusiasts might like you to believe that if you convert to no-till, you'll float right to the top of the profit class. Well, it really doesn't work that way.
In fact, if you look at the K-State Farm Management Association data, you'll find that no-till has little to nothing to do with profitability.
Lead researcher Kevin Dhuyvetter explains that over a period of years , they looked at a number of no-till operations and enterprises statewide. Those operations were divided into high, medium and low profit groups.
Don't get me wrong. Of course you can make money with no-till-but you can also lose money with no-till.
That said, let's take a look at how no-tillers fared with various enterprises.
With dryland corn, for instance, out of 57 no-till operations, 22 fell into the high profit group while 15 were in the middle and another 20 were in the low profit group. "Thus, no-till was not a determinant in profit ranking," Dhuyvetter says.
With dryland wheat between 2007 and 2009, 11 no-till farmers were in the high profit group while 18 were in the medium profit group and another 22 were in the bottom group. Consequently, the researchers saw a slight negative relationship between no-till and profitability.
However, no-till helped even the score when it came to dryland milo. There, 22 no-till farmers were in the top profit group while 23 were in the medium and 14 in the bottom profit group. Thus, there was a slight tendency for no-till to be associated with the high profit ranking.
So if no-till isn't all that important when it comes to making money, what is? The researchers say topping the list is the ability to grow high yielding crops. This is far and away more important than anything else. Ability to sell for higher prices is also important but more so is the ability to produce crops for lower costs. Finally, high profit farmers had a greater tendency to own more of their land or to cash rent it rather than to use crop share rent.