Henry Kallal

Jerseyville, IL

Conservation enthusiast Henry Kallal started farming in 1976 and two years later was determined to give no-till a try on his Jerseyville, IL, operation. “I remember we took an old Case planter and filled the insecticide boxes with dirt so we’d have enough down pressure to no-till beans after wheat,” he recalls. “We tried no-till with corn, too, but we weren’t very happy. We even tried ridge-till with mixed results.”

Today, he no-tills all 800 acres of his soybeans and has moved to strip-tilling his 1,000 acres of corn.

A stickler for stewardship, Kallal uses IPM before applying insecticide or fungicide. “We do it for two reasons. First, we want to be good stewards of the land and, second, we can’t afford to apply chemicals needlessly.

“We apply burndown herbicides in the fall so we don’t have to in the spring,” he says. “We also apply anhydrous in the fall and use N-Serve to prevent losing the nitrogen. This protects the groundwater and our investment in fertilizer.”

He adds that triple-stack corn has reduced the amount of herbicide and insecticide he uses, too. He soil samples every four years and then uses GPS guidance to prevent fertilizer overlaps and skips.

When Kallal found it difficult to find anyone to put in short tile runs to drain wet spots on his smaller fields, he didn’t panic. He went out and bought his own tiling machine and now has installed several miles of tiling on his southwest Illinois farm.

Kallal even has the equipment – high lift, trackhoe and backhoe – to do a variety of conservation work himself. In fact, he built two dry dams this spring on his farm and two for his neighbors. “We also cleaned out three ponds that were silted in and dams that were destroyed. We then stocked those ponds with fish and now allow the neighbors and friends to go fishing.”

He’s also built 16 acres of waterways and about 18 acres of buffer strips around his farm to keep chemicals and soil out of ponds and surface water. He even has 11 acres of quail habitat planted around the edges of fields next to the filter strips.

“We work hard to be good stewards of the soil,” Kallal says. “We live here and drink the water so we better protect it and keep a healthy environment in which to live.”