Driven by the desire to make the best out of every situation, central Iowa farmer Mark Muench used prevented planting acres for a demonstration of strip till and conventional tillage this fall.
“I like to make the best out of a bad situation,” he remarked. “These prevented planting acres were a perfect place to demonstrate the strip till set up I use on my farm, showing others how I create an optimum seed bed.”
Muench’s personal interest in improving the soil and preventing erosion while still achieving maximum yields led him to research and experiment to find the right tillage tools to do the job. “My goal is to create the best growing environment possible for the plant,” he explained. “The result is improving the soil and preventing erosion while still raising maximum yield.”
Knowing soil is his greatest asset, Muench began looking for the best conservation tillage methods and settled on strip till as the best option. “It keeps your soil in your field and you keep your nutrients where they are available to the plant, out of streams, rivers, and eventually, the Gulf of Mexico,” he commented. “With our system, organic matter and health of soil increases which in turn frees up nutrients and the water holding capacity of soil which greatly benefits the growing plant.”
Over a period of a few years, Muench tried different tillage equipment and set ups, fertilizer programs, and came to the conclusion the right configuration to achieve his strip till goals was not available. Most of the tillage tools he tried would plug in corn-on-corn residue, rendering them inefficient and ineffective. Additionally, the equipment needed to be heavy, solidly constructed, and customizable.
Muench and his staff began reconfiguring a Iowa-built Salford I-1100 to achieve their tillage goals and were successful. They were able to negotiate heavy residue and create the right environment for the seed. “We use this equipment on our farm. We do the experimenting so others don’t have to,” he stated. “Our focus is farmers who want to improve their practices and make more from their acres. I tell everyone, farm the way you want — don’t let the equipment determine what is possible. Make your equipment do what you want done.”
The turnkey system Muench sells through Muench AgriSolutions includes the Salford I-1500, now sold in his strip-till configuration as a standard option, along with a Montag fertilizer cart. Both Salford and Montag build their equipment in Iowa.
Because he’s a farmer first and equipment dealer/strip till advisor second, Muench puts customer needs ahead of any other interests. “I structured the business to be able to help with all the details you need. We have a full-time mechanic on call along with parts and service. We help you get the machines operating on the first day,” he said. “We provide everything needed to keep you moving.”
In addition to Muench AgriSolutions, LLC, Muench manages the family farm business as well as a trucking company. He has served on the board of directors of several successful biofuels plants as well as being a principal member of The Biodiesel Group which was established to help biofuels start-up companies. He and his wife, Holly, are parents of three children.