Cover Crops Supplement Livestock Feeding for Western Iowa Farmer
Monona County farmer Bo Fox is working with USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service to more efficiently graze his 100-head cow/calf herd and to help improve soil health on his farm.
Small Grains, Cover Crops Help Improve Soil Health
A Wisconsin farmer is improving soil health and fertility on cropland he farms across the state border near Waukon, Iowa. He added winter wheat to his rotation, followed by a diverse cover crop.
Improving Soil Biology Makes No-Till Planting Easier
Delaware County farmer Wayne Brunsman compares soil conditions in a field no-tilled for 14 consecutive years to a field no-tilled for the first time, and the reasons for the differences.
Byrnes Top Dresses Cover Crops with Dairy Manure
Matt Byrnes of Dorchester is applying dairy manure pumped from a pit from his 180-head dairy milking operation to fall seeded cereal rye cover crops to promote fall growth.
Early Maturity Soybeans Improve Fall Cover Crop Growth
Allamakee County's 2016 Cover Crop Grower of the Year has used cover crops to reduce soil erosion and improve soil health on his cropland for seven years. Now he is making adjustments to his crop management system to help with fall cover crop growth.
Finding Ways to Make Manure, Cover Crops Work
Ross Weymiller and his family are working with soil and water conservation leaders in Allamakee County to find the best methods for growing cover crops and utilizing manure fertilizer on crop fields, while minimally disturbing the soil with no-till.
Top Ag Teacher Learning to Farm with Cover Crops
Iowa’s 2017 Ag Education Teacher of the Year is practicing what he teaches while farming his 122 cropland acres in Story County, near Nevada. Kevin Cooper has no-tilled his corn and soybeans for about a decade and this year added cover crops by seeding 30 acres of oats into soybeans in August.
Roller Crimper Key in Organic No-Till System
Keota farmer Levi Lyle never thought he would be a go-to person for eastern Iowa farmers to rent a roller crimper. But with his interest in eliminating the use of herbicides on portions of his family’s cropland, he now has two crimpers that he uses and rents to farmers from Waterloo to Bloomfield.
Record Yields from the Bottom Up Using No-till, Cover Crops
A southeast Iowa farm family harvested record average yields in 2016 after managing cropland soils with no-till and cover crops. They attribute the yield bump to a bottoms up approach, by improving returns on typically poor-performing fields.
Farmer Adds Cover Crops to Suite of Conservation Practices
Fifth-generation Madison County farmer James Baur is following his family’s conservation traditions to help improve water quality in Badger Creek Lake, which was listed on the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) 303(d) list of impaired waters in 1998 due to excessive siltation and nutrient loading.
New Conservation Practices for Century Old Farm
Even though Frederick Martens’ grandfather started farming his Madison County ground more than a century ago, Martens continues to implement the latest in conservation technology to sustain the family farm for at least 100 more years.
Iowa Farmer Sees Success Crimp Rolling Cereal Rye
Mark Haines of Sigourney is one of a handful of southeast Iowa farmers to successfully terminate their cereal rye cover crop this spring using a roller crimper.
Iowa Farmer Mixed Up in Cover Crops
When soil and water conservation professionals began encouraging farmers to implement practices that help improve soil health – instead of focusing primarily on reducing soil erosion – it made perfect sense to Buchanan County farmer Dick Sloan. With a biology background, he knew that fewer soil disturbing activities and more living roots in the ground meant more sustainable, productive soils.
Earthworms Replace Tillage for Oskaloosa Farmer
Southern Iowa farmer Gene DeBruin is replacing costly tillage with the free tillage service provided by earthworms and cover crop roots. The Oskaloosa corn and soybean grower no longer tills his 330 acres of cropland, but instead relies on earthworms for tillage. He also plants cover crops for even more erosion control and superb soil structure.
Cover Crops Just Seemed Like the Thing to Do
The more she read about cover crops and soil health, the more Marilyn Geidel became convinced she and her husband Wes should be trying them on their farm. “I have great interest in reading the farm magazines,” Marilyn explains. “The more I read, cover crops just seemed like the thing to do. It sounded good to us to build the soil and to prevent erosion on our hills.”
Ruth Rabinowitz: No One Will Care for the Land Like You Do
Nearly 2,000 miles separates Ruth Rabinowitz from her family’s Iowa farmland. Without the advantage of growing up on a farm, the new partner in Rabinowitz Family Farms now finds herself serving as the family’s point person for managing 10 farms in six Iowa counties as well as one farm in South Dakota. (HTML |PDF)
Lynn Betts: If You Believe Soil Is Alive, Treat It That Way
Most landowners who don’t actively farm their land, especially those who live away from it, don’t expect to or want to make day-to-day decisions on how the land is farmed. They leave that up to their tenant. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have the right and the responsibility to set the tone for long-term care of their land. In fact, that’s one of the most important things they can do, says Guthrie County, Iowa, absentee landowner Lynn Betts. (HTML |PDF)
Family Synchronized on Cover Crops
Ann Frederick’s family thinks alike on cover crops and conservation. “Cover crops work well on our farm because of our cows,” Ann says. “We all agree cover crops are good for our cows and good for our ground.” (HTML |PDF)
Sorenson Wrote Conservation Into Her Lease
Linda “Lin” Sorenson says the income from land she inherited from her father is an enormous blessing, and she’s made a point of educating herself on how to care for it as long as she lives. Building the soil with cover crops has become a central part of that care. (HTML |PDF)
Organic Grower Harvests Soil Health Benefits
Organic farmer Roger Lansink says the success or failure of his operation rests squarely on his shoulders. “We can’t blame any crop failures on synthetic inputs—because we don’t use any,” he says. “But,” he adds, “we can also take all the credit for raising a successful, healthy crop.” (HTML |PDF)
Iowa Couple Grows Food, Family, Community on Organic Farm
Some people are born to farm. Others grow to love it. In Melissa Dunham’s case, she fell in love with a farmer—and now she loves both the farmer and the farm. (HTML |PDF)
Healthy Soil is Central to Jeanne Elbert's Legacy
Northwest Iowa farmer Jeanne Elbert is using cover crops to improve soil health. With farming as she and her husband Troy's livelihood, soil health is the number one reason for cover crops. (HTML | PDF)
Powered by Diversity and Healthy Soil, Organic Farm Flourishes
A certified organic operation since 1994, Ron and Maria Vakulskas Rosmann's 700-acre farm near Harlan is home to a remarkable amount of diversity—above and below the ground. (HTML | PDF)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)