Farms: Commercial corn, soybeans and alfalfa hay
Conservation practices used: Cover crops, terraces, no-till
Value of cover crops: Since using cover crops, I only have to do one pass when spraying soybeans. There is enough residue for suppression of water hemp, the soybeans get up and canopy, and I don’t have near the weed pressure that I did before. I also have repeatedly seen less erosion and greater improvement in my soil since incorporating cover crops.
Benefits of technology on the farm: On our farm, we grid sample everything on 2/5-acre grids. The plant nutrients only are applied where they are needed. We also use auto-steer technology when spraying, which is accurate down to the inch, to ensure that we are spraying only what is necessary.
“We need to preserve the top soil so we can grow productive crops today and for the next generations.”
Advice for other farmers: I’ve tried oats, radishes and now plant cereal rye. It’s apparent that cover crops help hold the topsoil in place, so there is less erosion caused by heavy rains and other uncontrollable climate incidents. Talk with someone knowledgeable who can provide the necessary education and guidance, and start small and expand as you grow more comfortable.