These days, farmers are certainly being more judicious with where they spend their money. While there are certainly unavoidable expenses, farmers can also use a little creativity to produce an economical result.

This can be an especially beneficial approach for first-time strip-tillers looking to break into the practice, while not breaking the bank. Rubicon, Wis., farmer Ben Klink went this route when selecting a strip-till rig to run on their 1,100-acre corn, soybean and wheat operation for the first time in this year.

In recent years, Klink had seen a gradual yield drag on his no-tilled corn, and viewed strip-till as an option to help stabilize corn yields. Looking to make a modest machinery investment, Klink purchased an Unverferth toolbar with 12 Rawson three-coulter row units at an auction for about $6,500. 

“We chased the rig at a couple of auctions and finally had the opportunity to purchase it,” Klink says. “We had used the three-coulter setup on a 6-row planter we ran and thought it performed well in our rocky soil conditions.”

They removed the liquid-fertilizer tank that came with the unit and mounted a 5½-ton Fargo Products stainless steel dry fertilizer box, which Klink purchased at another auction. Klink wanted a more economical delivery system for dry fertilizer, including one with a higher capacity to reduce refill time. 

“We took the 1,000-gallon tank off and removed a couple of frame members that were there if we wanted to piggyback a planter,” Klink says. “With the metering system, we weighed out all 12 rows and row-to-row consistency is probably within 5%.” 

After some additional “nickel-and-dime” modifications, Klink had spent about $15,000 total on the machine, and everything was assembled in time for spring strip-tilling of about one-third of their corn acres and a few soybean acres. 

As of mid-July, Klink was satisfied with the results and stands were looking comparable to what he’d seen with no-till and, in some cases, even a little better. 

“Going in, we knew we didn’t have a big budget, and for what we’ve spent thus far, I think the results are showing we made a wise investment,” he says. 

What money-saving methods or have you utilized in your strip-till operation? Share your story with me at (262) 782-4480, ext. 441, or send me an e-mail at