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Cover Crops, Manure Key to Farm’s No-Till Evolution

Gordon and Jeff Smiley are finding quick success with a one-two nutrient punch from fall manure application and cover-crop cocktails.


HEALTHY SOILS. Gordon Smiley (left) and his brother Jeff have no-tilled soybeans for 15 years, but only no-tilled corn starting in 2011. They’ve found that seeding cover crop cocktails in the fall — and following that with manure applications — feeds soil biological activity year round. “It’s been an evolution,” Gordon says. “We’re starting to feed the soil instead of feeding the plants, as they say.”


Having no-tilled soybeans for many years, Gordon and Jeff…

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John dobberstein2

John Dobberstein

John Dobberstein is senior editor of No-Till Farmer magazine and the e-newsletter Dryland No-TillerHe previously covered agriculture for the Tulsa World and worked for daily newspapers in Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Joseph, Mich. He graduated with a B.A. in journalism and political science from Central Michigan University.

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