Phil Pitzenberger, Butler County

“Since I bought my vertical tillage tool there’s four more within 5 miles of my house. Now I’m a resource to my neighbors. It’s great to see some farmers realize we don’t need to do all the tillage we used to do.”
Farms: Corn and soybeans

Conservation practices used: Reduced tillage, delayed-nitrogen applications

Benefits: We farm a lot of corn-on-corn with just a vertical tillage tool. That leaves the crop residue on top of the surface. By not doing deep tillage, we’ve stopped any problems with erosion. We see economic benefits from our delayed-nitrogen applications, as we now get the best bang for our buck out of the nitrogen. We have a high-clearance sprayer with drops that applies nitrogen just before the corn tassels. That makes the nitrogen available when the crop needs it the most.

Involvement in Soil Health Partnership: I’m excited to see the soil properties change and have scientific documentation of what we’re doing to improve our soils. We have already noticed improvement in water infiltration on our reduced-tillage fields, as that soil absorbs water a lot faster than our conventional-tilled fields.

Family involvement: I farm with my brothers and dad. We’re all on board with conservation efforts because we want to be the best possible managers of the soil, which is the foundation for our livelihood. Although my dad wasn’t sure at first, he’s seeing the benefits, too.

Advice for other farmers: Seek advice from professionals and other farmers using conservation practices you would like to try. And then start implementing them on a small amount of acres and let it evolve as you become educated. We started with our lighter ground and that eventually evolved into reduced tillage on all of our heavier soils.