"He [Clyde] was a very tillage-oriented person. That's how he come up, you know. You disc in the fall, you disc in the spring, you fertilize, you field collate, you plant. Then you cultivate, then you hill."

[Clyde:] "See, I was just horse farmer, you might say. Then, there wasn't too many chemicals used when I was in my earlier years because you just plain planted your corn. You went out there with a cultivator to get rid of the weeds, a go devil, a cultivator."

[Chris:] "We went to ridge till when fuel prices started climbing. And when I'm talking climbing! The first few years I was back, we burned 60-cent diesel fuel. Then all of a sudden, here we're burning 80-cent diesel fuel and 89-cent diesel fuel. And I'm like, 'We can save trips. We can save water. We need to go to ridge till.' So we butted heads pretty hard over this deal. And Grandpa was phasing out his activity as far as the farming went, and I was renting the land from him then, which I still do today. And I'm like, 'We're going to be dollars ahead if we ridge till.'
     "And he said, 'Oh it won't work.'
     "And I said, 'Just give me a chance. We can disc it in the spring if we have to. Just give me a chance.' I spent some money on the planter, some attachments to farm in heavier residue because the disc tills your residue under. I ridge tilled the first year, and he was sure we were going to have a crop failure.
     "And at the end he was like, We should have done that sooner!' He understands it. He sees that we lessen our trips [over the field]. We save our moisture. The erosion, the erosion – In York County, a lot of people think York County Nebraska, is flat which it is along the highways. Now Highway 34 is flat as far as you can see, and I-80 once you get a couple miles into the county, it's flat as far as you can see each way of the Interstate, you know. But on our hillsides, our draws that are tough to farm depending on the contour, what have you. They were getting washed deeper and deeper. We went to ridge till, we fixed the draw up once every year. But basically, there's very minimal erosion. You could say no erosion. The draws, the big draws in the bottom of the fields that had been cutting deeper and deeper, they have now, with the ridge till, they're catching the silt. They're silting back in from other water coming down. It's been a good thing there."

[Clyde:] "Nowadays, they'll drill [plant] a field of [genetically modified soy-] beans and spray them with a Roundup or one of the chemicals, and maybe not go out there until harvest because you can. It's expensive, but at least it controls the weeds. It's remarkable how some of the chemical companies have come up with things that will zap one, or a bunch of weeds, all but this one, like a soybean. You won't bother the soybean."

Chris & Clyde – Tillage Changes


Excerpts from Chris Ziegler’s Interview:

Farming Over Generations
Women on the Farm
His Girls & Farming
Urban Sprawl, with Clyde Ehlers
Raising Kids for Export
Using Fertilizers
Tractors (& Horses) Bog Down
Planting Tech Changes