Our Practices

MGP Farms is a third generation farming enterprise. We thoroughly understand all the facets of farming and profitably operate our own 7,000 acre farm in northwest Iowa where we raise corn, wheat, and soybeans. We are well connected with area resources and able to match investors accordingly.

In addition, we understand and are experienced in the various tilling practices and employ those that reflect the goals, values, and philosophies of farming investors. Of course, educating and advising you is also naturally a part of what we do. Our goal is to help you gain the greatest sense of fulfillment in treating your property with respect and integrity, while at the same time maximizing your profits. But ultimately, those decisions rest with you.

Conventional tillage:

Plows have changed since those days of the dustbowl era of the 1930's. Today's modern chisel plow is much less aggressive on the soil-and tills around 12 to 14 inches deep.

The advantage is that residue is buried under the surface where it collects heat and warms the soil faster. This is good because planted seed germinates at 50 degrees. Therefore, you're able to plant earlier and this promotes a better emergence.

On the down side, conventional tillage ruins soil structure, which is important to plant health. It also kills some of the night crawlers and other organisms in the soil that are important to plant health.

Minimum tillage:

In a less invasive approach, minimum till uses a strip till to dig an 8" wide strip through the field. Fertilizer is placed into the strip followed by seed planting in the spring.

Minimum till leaves some residue on the surface, but pushes aside and buries the rest. The residue on the surface is then broken down organically by night crawlers, bacteria, and organisms in the soil during the year. This approach preserves soil structure, which prevents erosion and protects soil organisms.

However, residue on the surface is subject to disease and this has to be closely monitored and managed. In addition, the residue can present problems for planter equipment.

No Tillage:

Using just the planter rather than a plow, we move about 2 inches of soil and leave all residue on the surface. As the least invasive method, it is the best approach for preserving soil structure, which prevents soil erosion and allows for the most effective management of fertilizer.

On the down side, the soil warms slower so it takes longer to reach the 50 degree temperature needed for germination. In addition, the surface residue will have to be carefully monitored for disease and can be a challenge getting through the planter equipment.

As you can see, there are advantages and disadvantages to each tilling practice. We make suggestions based on your particular farm, but regardless of the tilling practice used, you can be confident that we are thoroughly equipped and experienced in delivering each one effectively.