The roller/crimper gallery
A collection of photos of cover crop crimper/roller tools from around the United States—and beyond

~Updated October 22, 2007~

Captain America: A small, experimental roller built by technicians at the USDA-ARS National Soil Dynamics Laboratory in Auburn, Ala. (Photo courtesy of Randy L. Raper, USDA-ARS-NSDL.)
Posted May 12, 2005: One of the great things about developing mechanical kill methods for reduced-input no-till systems is that the crimper/roller implements are relatively simple and inexpensive to build.

The Rodale Institute's No-Till + Project will build and distribute ten rollers to be used by farmers and researchers in California, North Dakota, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia, Virginia and Mississippi. But there are already farmers and researchers working with rollers—based on our design or on designs of their own—in other areas.

In the interest of spreading the word about low-input no-till, we've created a photo gallery of crimper/rollers.

Do you have a roller you'd like to showcase? Send your pics digitally to or, or by regular mail to Laura Sayre, The New Farm, 611 Siegfriedale Rd., Kutztown, PA 19530.



<<< Winslow winner:  A three-roller set-up from Ernest Winslow in Scotland Neck, NC.

Harvest Gold >>>:  The Rodale Institute's cover crop crimper/roller, designed and built in late 2002 by TRI farm manager Jeff Moyer and neighboring farmer John Brubaker, with the assistance of a NE SARE grant.

<<< The Crimp-o-matic: John Hayden of The Farm Between in Jeffersonville, VT, built this simple, hand-and-foot powered crimper tool by attaching a piece of manure spreader bed chain (angle iron would also work, he suggests) to a board and then threading lengths of baling twine to each end. By taking a length of twine in each hand and stepping on the board every eight inches or so, Hayden says, you can flatten the cover crop in the same way that people make crop circles. Hayden and his farm team used the tool in their greenhouse and then planted tomatoes into the mulch.

Orange Crush >>>: Researchers at Penn State University constructed this roller in early 2005 and will be testing it out this season.
<<< The Alabama slammer: Alabama roller built by Dr. Wayne Reeves of USDA-ARS. (Photo courtesy of Steve Groff.)

<<< Big Blue: Steve and Tony Polter of Polter's Berry Farm in Fremont, Ohio, built this blue roller based on the Rodale Institute's design. They'll be using it for no-till pumpkins and other crops.
Black magic >>>: Michigan State University extension specialist Dale Mutch had this roller built with the help of a MSU Project GREEEN grant, following the basic design of the Rodale Institute's roller. The team had good results with it for organic soybeans in 2004 and will be testing it again this season. (Photo courtesy of Dale Mutch.)

Fresh cut >>>: A knife roller in use on the farm of Erny Schlindwein, president of the Paraguayan No-till Farmers Association. (Photo courtesy of Rolf Derpsch.)

<<< Chop-n-go: Steve Groff of Cedar Meadow Farm in Pennsylvania uses a rolling stalk chopper to knock down residue. (Photo courtesy of Steve Groff.)

<<< Front runner: Georgia farmer Lamar Black built this front-mounted roller from his own design. (Photo courtesy of Steve Groff.)

The Green Berea:>>> At Berea College in Kentucky, Prof. Sean Clark and his team have been rolling rye cover crops for corn with a Bessler rolling stalk chopper. Clark says the system has worked well both with and without mimimal herbicide applications.