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Soil Health Producer Profiles

Mark Korte of Palmer, Iowa.

Ready for Radishes? The Next Big Thing
Internet research on cover crops motivated Pocahontas County farmer Mark Korte to plant 500 acres of tillage radishes during the summer of 2013 as a preventive planting cover after a wet spring ruined his cash crop. (HTML | PDF)

Don McCool

Cover Crops Provide Immediate Soil Benefits for No-tiller
After five years researching cover crops, Guthrie County farmer Don McCool aerial seeded cereal rye on 420 acres on his cropland near Bayard on Sept. 9, 2013, and he saw immediate soil health benefits, including more root mass to feed microorganisms. (HTML | PDF)

Randy Rogers of Sergeant Bluff, Iowa.

Rogers Successfully No-tills River Bottoms
Erasing three words from his vocabulary – can’t, won’t and don’t – Woodbury County farmer Randy Rogers has effectively done what most local farmers have been unable or unwilling to do – successfully strip-till corn and no-till soybeans on the Missouri River Bottoms. (HTML | PDF)

Tim Smith in his cereal rye cover crop field.

MRBI Conservation Practices Improving Soil Conditions, Too
Eagle Grove farmer Tim Smith’s participation in a USDA conservation program designed to reduce nutrient and sediment loading into local waterways – and eventually the Mississippi River – is also improving the health of his soils using fewer disturbing activities such as deep tillage, over-fertilizing, and keeping living roots in the ground longer through cover crops. (HTML | PDF)

Joe Kriegel of Brooklyn kneels in his red clover field.

Kriegel Ahead of Cover Crops Trend
The number of cover crop acres has increased dramatically over the past five years in Iowa – from less than 10,000 acres in 2009 to about 300,000 acres this fall. One Iowa farmer who is helping to increase that number is Joe Kriegel who farms and grows cover crops on more than 2,000 acres in Poweshiek County with his three sons, Patrick, Nicholas, and Jared. (HTML | PDF)

Bill Totemeier

Mob Grazing Produces Healthy Soil and Livestock
Many attribute Iowa’s agricultural soil erosion and water quality issues to row crop production. However, open – or continuous – grazing can also lead to gullies and cattle trails that can cause severe erosion and sediment runoff, as well as reduce forage tonnage produced on Iowa pastures. (HTML | PDF)

Don Elsbernd of Postville, Iowa.

Conservation, Profits Outweigh Crop Yields
Growing strong crop yields is important to farmer Don Elsbernd, but the National Corn Growers Association member is more interested in protecting his natural resources and improving profit margins through soil conservation practices. (HTML | PDF)

Craig Brodersen of Charter Oak reduced erosion thanks to crop residue and cover crops.

Cover Crops Hold Soil Through Heavy Rain
Charter Oak farmer Craig Brodersen chose the right year to start using cover crops. He aerial-applied winter hardy cereal rye for the first time last fall into 400 corn acres, and it helped dramatically reduce erosion on much of his newly planted soybean ground this spring. (HMTL | PDF)

Dennis Lundy of Fontanelle, Iowa.

Premier Iowa Hay Grower Discovers Soil Health with No-Till Alfalfa
Adair County farmer Dennis Lundy began no-tilling alfalfa hay for the first time five years ago to prevent soil erosion on his rolling, highly erosive soils. Now, he is not only reducing soil erosion but also improving his soil health and achieving better alfalfa stands. (HMTL | PDF)

Wade Mitchell of Buckingham, Iowa.

Good Practices Ensure Healthy Soils
Wade Mitchell is one of a growing number of Iowa farmers who are "growing" their own crop insurance, through soil health management practices like no-till and cover crops that protect the soil and crop yields from weather extremes. (HMTL | PDF)

Ray Menke of rural Fort Madison, Iowa.

Soil Health Practices Help Menke Through Drought
Ray Menke of rural Fort Madison admits the main reason he switched to no-till farming in 1987 was his inability to afford new expensive farm equipment and machinery. Now, 26 years later, Menke is still leaving the soil undisturbed and he reaped the benefits during last year’s extreme drought. (HMTL | PDF)