David Holubec and Paul Minzenmayer switched to no-till production techniques for wheat and rotation crops years ago and continue to fine tune operations to improve efficiency and profit potential.

They discussed production techniques at the recent Big Country Wheat Conference in Abilene, Texas.

Holubec, who farms near Melvin, Texas, switched to a reduced tillage system several years ago, always applies s nitrogen fertilizer at planting, soil tests to identify fertility needs, sprays disease-prone varieties, rotates with corn, and is meticulous about keeping fields free of weeds, especially wild oats.

Minzenmayer, of High Cotton Farms, Rowena, Texas, has been in no-till for ten years, is considering pre-plant nitrogen fertilization and plans to try variable rate fertilizer application. He rotates wheat and cotton. He’s also conscientious about weed control and sprays for diseases as necessary.

“We primarily grow wheat,” Holubec said. His corn rotation helps with weed control and limits soil-borne diseases.

“We also get in and out earlier with corn than we could with cotton,” he said, “and we can clean up after harvest with glyphosate.”

Corn and wheat may be subject to the same environmental threats, however. “If we get a freeze early in the spring it hurts corn and wheat. Both are vulnerable to hail damage, too,” he said. “This year, both crops seem to be good. And we’ve made corn for the last three years.”

He likes to be out of the fields as early in the fall as possible because he raises sheep and they lamb in October.

“We’ve had a ewe and lamb operation since 1983,” he said. “We graze wheat November, December, January and February and often put dry ewes on wheat stubble after harvest. They pick up a little green matter.”

Minzenmayer switched to no-till ten years ago and plants cotton into wheat stubble. It’s a sound rotation. “Cotton does better behind wheat than it does behind milo for us. We make an extra half bale of cotton per acre behind wheat.”