Farms: Corn and soybeans
Conservation practices used: Cover crops, no-till
Why cover crops? I had been farming some sloped ground, an area that had more soil erosion, so that's why I originally turned to cover crops. While cover crops have helped us better control soil erosion, we're also using them to ultimately improve water quality.
What cover crops have you tried? We have a cover crop test plot on my farm that was put in with the help of the Jasper County Soil and Water Conservation District. Winter cereal rye has been the go-to crop, but we're testing some other cover crops and looking at different methods of seeding, such as drilling and aerial planting. It's a learning process, but we're starting to understand what we can do.
“While cover crops have helped us better control soil erosion, we're also using them to ultimately improve water quality.”
Value of conservation: The combination of no-till and establishing a cover crop each year has significantly cut down soil erosion. We're getting good yields and we're improving how we manage nutrients in the soil.
Advice for other farmers: Several resources exist for farmers who want to learn more about cover crops and practical ways for implementation. Conferences focused on no-till practices, talking to other farmers and understanding the need for trial and error to figure out what works on individual operations are important.