In the past decade, farmers have increased their use of no-till farming by 200%, bringing the current total no-till acres to 51 million.

That's according to the 2000 Crop Residue Management Survey, recently released by the Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC), West Lafayette, IN.

"These survey results verify that more farmers are discovering the benefits of no-till, especially in corn and soybeans," says Bruno Alesii, CTIC chair.

The biggest increases have been in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Ohio. Those four states added 1.8 million acres of no-till soybeans in the last two years. Indiana and Ohio farmers planted 60% of their soybeans without tillage last year.

No-till corn acres also are on the rise. The survey revealed that Ohio farmers planted 24% of their corn acres as no-till in 2000. In Indiana, Iowa and Illinois, no-till accounted for 21%, 18% and 17%, respectively, of the total corn acres last year.

No-till usage nationwide has increased nearly 7% in the last two years, to 17.6% of the total cropland. Two other conservation tillage systems, mulch-till (full-width tillage that leaves more than 30% residue) and ridge-till, accounted for 18% and 1.2%, respectively, of the total planted acres in 2000.