Roger Zylstra, Jasper County

Farms: Corn, soybeans, contract hog feeding

Conservation practices used: Cover crops

Why cover crops? Cover crops are a good way to help with conservation initiatives involving water quality, as well as soil health.

“Planting on highly erodible ground can be challenging, but cover crops have definitely helped me to manage erosion and better the overall health of my soil.”

Value of cover crops: Cover crops are helping prevent erosion on the 700 acres of land that I farm that is notorious for heavy erosion. We have also noticed a definite suppression of weeds in our soybeans. It's too soon to say much about yield improvement, but that marked improvement in late-season pigweed emergence made a difference and was obviously connected to our use of cover crops.

Involvement in the Soil Health Partnership (SHP): Joining the SHP has given me the opportunity to quantify cover crop results. On our farm, early results show we're making some progress.

Advice for other farmers: Considering incorporating cover crops into an operation can be a bit overwhelming. There are several organizations that offer knowledge and expertise to answer questions and help you get started. Consult with a local agronomist to ensure you are doing what is best for your operation.