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Posts tagged: soil health

This Farmer’s Convinced: “Ugly” Fields Have Higher Yields

Posted by Robert Hathorne, Oklahoma Public Affairs Specialist on June 17, 2016 at 10:17 AM
Scotty Herriman places a trusting hand on the no-till drill he viewed with such skepticism for decades. Today, he often leads the state in dryland no-till corn yields.

Scotty Herriman places a trusting hand on the no-till drill he viewed with such skepticism for decades. Today, he often leads the state in dryland no-till corn yields.

Back in 2009, you couldn’t pay Scotty Herriman to try no-till. “Our bottomland is tight, heavy clay,” he insisted. “It won’t work here.”

Scotty has been growing corn, soybeans, wheat and milo on 2,000 acres in Nowata County, Oklahoma for more than 50 years. So, it’s generally wise to take his word when it comes to farming. But Scotty is the first to acknowledge he misjudged no-till. Six years after switching to no-till, he says, “it will work here, and I’ve proved it.”

As is the unfortunate truth for many producers, it took a series of disasters to get Scotty to consider changing from the conventional farming practices he had used for decades. He had seen others try no-till as early as the 1970s, but even during the severe drought of 1980-1981, Scotty doubted the cost-effective and water-saving system. He was convinced a chisel was necessary to break up his soil, and the cost of a no-till drill was a gamble that outweighed the potential benefit. Read more >>

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Tags: Oklahoma, soil health

categories Soil Health, Discover Conservation, Farmer & Rancher Stories


Fourth-generation Farmer Finds Soil Success in No-Till and Cover Crops

Posted by Thomas Kielbasa, Maine Public Affairs Specialist on June 09, 2016 at 03:19 PM
When Bob Fogler started to slowly incorporate no-till farming into his practices he began to see a difference in soil productivity.

When Bob Fogler started to slowly incorporate no-till farming into his practices he began to see a difference in soil productivity.

When Bob Fogler walked the fields of his dairy farm in central Maine recently, he wasn’t looking ahead; he was looking down and about four inches into the earth.

Shovel in hand, Fogler plodded purposefully through a cold, dry cornfield blasted by late-winter winds. He stopped often, turned over clods of chocolate-brown soil with the shovel blade, looked for worms, and moved on. Behind him a group of 15 farmers, soil scientists and agricultural specialists navigated through the rows of broken stalks and followed as the fourth-generation farmer spoke about the unseen life teeming under their feet.  Read more >>

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Tags: Maine, soil health

categories Farmer & Rancher Stories, Soil Health


Ready to Quit, Farmer Thrives on Soil Health

Posted by Ron Nichols on April 21, 2016 at 06:46 PM
Jonathan Cobb says that with a new focus on soil health, we got rid of all of the tillage equipment, and just dove in.

Jonathan Cobb says that with a new focus on soil health, we got rid of all of the tillage equipment, and just dove in.

Jonathan Cobb had made up his mind. He was leaving the farm.

“I was disillusioned with farming in general because we were just pushing long days and chasing acres and it didn’t seem like there was very much reward,” Cobb said. “That quality of life was not very good. My wife was having to work a lot of hours full time and really support the family. Twenty-five hundred acres really didn’t support two families, and we weren’t living extravagant lifestyles by any means.”

Then came the drought of 2011.

“I thought, maybe this is a sign from God – maybe we shouldn’t be farming. Maybe we should move on to something else,’” Cobb said. “I was looking into moving down to Austin, Texas and being involved in some urban farming setups.”

In time, he and his wife Kaylyn put their house on the market and prepared to move, abandoning a century-old tradition of Cobb family farming. Read more >>

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Tags: soil health, no till, cover crops, soils, farmers

categories Soil Health, Discover Conservation, Farmer & Rancher Stories