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Alfalfa, Cereal Rye Bring Added Benefits to Long-Term No-Till

Milledgeville, Ill., no-tiller Norm Deets finds alfalfa helps speed up the transition to no-till and cover crops hold and build soil in areas prone to erosion.


Above photo: NATURAL PLOW. When Norm Deets acquires a new farm that hasn’t been no-tilled, he grows alfalfa for 4-5 years to improve the tilth of the soil, saying it works as a “natural plow.” He’ll then no-till corn after alfalfa, as he can take a 100-pound nitrogen credit from what’s left in the soil.


Being the “scourge” of the neighborhood was one of the biggest challenges Norm Deets faced when he started no-tilling. But…

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Laura barrera

Laura Barrera

Laura Barrera is the former managing editor of No-Till Farmer and Conservation Tillage Guide magazines. Prior to joining No-Till Farmer, she served as an assistant editor for a greenhouse publication. Barrera holds a B.A. in magazine journalism from Ball State University.

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