ASK Jeff: The Rodale Institute’s farm manager, Jeff Moyer, answers your hardcore farming questions

A few questions about uses for the no-till roller.

Posted August 10, 2006

What Jeff brings to the table

Jeff Moyer, who’s been the farm manager here at the 333-acre Rodale Institute research farm for more than a quarter of a century, receives lots of mail from farmers just like you asking for advice. Jeff’s hands-in-the-dirt experience over the past 26 years has run the gamut from refining the farm's cover cropping and crop rotation systems (including managing 270 acres in a rotation of corn, small grains, hay, and edible soy beans for a Japanese market) to overseeing The Rodale Institue Farming Systems Trial®, the world’s longest running side-by-side comparison of organic and conventional agriculture. We thought it would be fun and informative to share some of these farmer-to-farmer exchanges, and Jeff’s practical wisdom, with our readers … and we’ll be doing it on a regular basis.

Got a question of your own? Click here to send it to Jeff.

Dear Jeff,

I have recently been doing a lot of research on switching to a no-till agriculture system for all ranch-farming aspects, including food plots. My biggest trouble to this day is actually coming across some of the equipment I'm looking for. I am very interested in finding a no-till roller but have a difficulty finding this product for sale. I am located in central Texas, but location is not a huge issue; the primary issue is finding some good sources. An additional question concerning a no-till roller: Is its performance as a general roller for pressing small seeded legumes into the seed bed after broadcasting. Could I use a no-till roller for this purpose also, or should a conventional roller still be used for this purpose?

Nathan Orsak

Dear Nathan,

Thanks for the email and the interest in our no-till roller design. The roller we have designed is part of a cover crop management system that enables us to no-till plant or drill seeds directly into a roller cover crop mulch, without the use of herbicides. This is accomplished by using winter/annual cover crops that are rolled/crimped at full bloom with our roller then planted with a no-till planter. There is a manufacturer of the roller here in Pennsylvania: I&J Manufacturing. They can be reached by phone at (717) 442 9451. We also have plans for our roller available online.

As to your second question about using the roller to press in seeds that were broadcast seeded: I've never tried to use it for that, but it may work. Whether it works better or worse than a roller specifically designed for that purpose, I wouldn't know.

Thanks again for the email.