This table, with data from University of Illinois, reflects updated 2006 production costs with $3.50/gal. fuel. As such, no-till saves 23% of variable costs, or $19.05/acre, and 1.3 gal. fuel/acre, over “typical till” in this University of Illinois Extension analysis, provided by Gary Schnitkey, farm management specialist, based on averaged corn and soybean costs. The “typical till” uses a field cultivator secondary tillage before planting and a chisel plow operation after corn harvest. The no-till includes field passes for fertilizer and chemical application, planting and combining; but not tillage. Costs are updated from using

University of Illinois 2012 Machinery cost estimates.




“Typical till”


Corn/bean avg.




Fuel use/acre

2.4 gal./acre

3.7 gal./acre

1.3 gal./acre

Labor cost/acre




Implement overhead




Tractor overhead