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

Can I plant soybeans with a 7-inch no-till grain drill?

Posted February 16, 2007

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 don't see any pictures of soybeans planted with a 7-inch no-till grain drill. Will it work on our farm in southern Missouri?

Jim Protiva


Dear Jim,

Thanks for the email and the interest in the cover crop rolling system of no-till. The short answer to your question is, yes, it should work fine provided you have a good quality no-till drill. I have a no-till drill that doesn’t work very well in getting the seed through the heavy cover crop residue. This leads to poor stands and space for weeds to break through the mulch layer. Dale Mutch at Michigan State has had great luck drilling soybeans into rolled rye. It’s true we don’t have good photos of grain drills up on our site, but you can contact Dale Mutch through our Meet the No-tillers section of the New Farm website to get direct input from him.