Issue 98
Prairie Grains





Prairie Grains is the official publication of the Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers, North Dakota Grain Growers Association, Montana Grain Growers Association and South Dakota Wheat, Inc.

Copyright Prairie Grains Magazine
March 2009


This is just the way I do things

No-Tilling Beans into Corn Stubble

By Mark Blanchfield

My name is Mark Blanchfield. I farm with my wife MaryJane and employee Al Stivens. Our farm is nine miles NE of Devils Lake, North Dakota. We farm a variety of crops including corn, soybeans, spring and winter wheat, barley, canola and pinto beans. We try to keep our crops in a four year rotation with variations, depending on soils and different types of fields. Our corn is usually followed by soybeans, though once in a while, we till the corn ground and follow it with pinto beans. When we started raising corn, we struggled with what to do with the residue the following year. At first we disked it, but it seemed we still had a lot of residue, plus we brought up the root balls, which added to the residue and were difficult to deal with. In drier years we didnít have stalks to catch the snow. There are years like this year, when, due to an early snowfall, we didnít have a chance to disk in the fall.

We decided that the only way we could reasonably raise corn was to no till a crop into the corn the following year. The first thing I did was buy a corn head with knife rolls to reduce some of residue. Then I bought a Case IH SDX drill, because it seemed to be the drill with the most down pressure on the disks. The next problem was how to put fertilizer on the soybeans. The SDX has 7.5 inch spacing and is setup to easily switch to 15 inch spacing. We prefer to seed soybeans in 15 inch spacing anyway, so we put fertilizer down every other run. We use a blend of Urea and Phosphates, depending on soil tests. I have been told the fertilizer is too far away from the seed, but that spacing seems to work well for us. You do need to use maximum down pressure with the drill plus travel at a slower speed. We usually seed at an angle to the corn rows so that soybean rows donít follow the corn rows.

We put new disks on the drill last spring. That helped to cut through the corn stalks. We seed a little higher populations, because some seed will end up on top of the ground. Last year we tried coultering a field before seeding. The soybeans did come up a little faster, but the field didnít yield any better. Because of our current wet conditions, we may coulter next year to dry the fields out for planting. Another benefit of leaving the stalks is when you run the landroller over the field, you donít have to worry about a hard rain causing water to run off or crusting of the ground. So far this method has worked well for us