The satellite technology allows the Hulas to work at night and know exactly where they are in any particular field. This can be especially important as the area they farm becomes more urbanized. He notes that it can be critical in some situations to be in a field when there are no people around.

For example, he says they farm Mainland Farm, one of the oldest continuous farms in the United States. The historic site is encircled by bike and walking paths, and sometimes it just isn’t feasible to be out there spraying when the surrounding area is being used for recreational purposes.

The Hulas planted their soybean crop this year with a new air drill planter and a new 320 horsepower auto steer tractor. The new planter is satellite driven and provides for variable rate application of seed and the auto steer on the tractor allows them to control traffic patterns.

The sprayer they use has a 90-foot boom and holds 1,000 gallons. Typically, they spray 500-600 acres per day. However, John Hula took on the challenge of spraying some particularly troublesome worms recently and sprayed 1,000 acres in a day, David Hula notes.

With this sprayer they can pour the target pesticide into the tank while the equipment is in the field. The inductor sucks the chemical into the tank and at the same time they can triple rinse the chemical jug, and it’s ready for disposal.

The sprayer has a fresh water tank, which allows them to rinse the sprayer tank and then use the water to spray the next field. “It allows us to be more efficient and more environmentally safe,” Hula, contends.

The Virginia grower says the combination of equipment and continuous no-till allows he and his brother and two support people to farm about 5,000 acres of land. “If we were still in conventional-tillage we would have to have more tractors, plow, disk and use more labor.

“We have a 200 horsepower tractor that serves primarily as backup to the new 8320, 320 horsepower tractor. So, we can essentially farm all our land with one tractor — because of the versatility we have built into this one machine,” he adds.

Making conservation-tillage work has been a labor of love for all the Hula family. Winning awards and getting national recognition for their crop production is nice, but the real reward comes from farming in an environmentally responsible way that is an asset to their community and their state and keeps Renwood Farms as one of the most highly regarded farming operations in the U.S.

rroberson@farmpress.com