No-till enthusiasts in the early years talked a lot at field days and meetings about the advantages of saving on machinery costs by converting to no-till. The selling point was not only that you would spend less on fuel, but also that you would save on machinery costs because you wouldn’t put as many hours on tractors since you weren’t plowing or tilling anymore.
The fuel savings were tangible, but they weren’t huge on a whole-farm basis. Savings in machinery cost weren’t as apparent to many because they didn’t trade tractors often even in conventional tillage. It was difficult to realize that machinery savings due to no-till was a real economic advantage.
Wayne Kleaving, Tell City, Ind., believes it. In 1979, his father purchased a used International 1066 with 850 hours on it. Today it has 3,400 original hours. “This IH 1066 is still used in our farming operation today,” Kleaving says. “But its duties are limited since I have been no-tilling for the last several years.”
There’s no doubt the tractor would have more hours on it if Kleaving had continued tilling instead of shifting to no-till several years ago. When hours rack up, eventually repair costs increase, especially if an engine overhaul is necessary. Learning about a 40-plus-year-old tractor with 3,400 original hours makes no-till savings on machinery expenses more real.
The 1066 was recently restored and painted by Terry Hilsmeyer in St. Henry, Ind.
“I can remember many fond memories of very long days working in the fields plowing and disking with this tractor,” Kleaving says. “My mother is 93, and it’s still her favorite tractor to drive.”