Lynn Betts

Lynn
Betts
Articles
The case for strip till: Healthy soil, less tile, better root growth 2

After 11 years of strip till, Dennis Smith has built his night crawler numbers up to the point that there’s not enough soybean residue to go around. He also doesn't need to tile or use grass waterways because of better water infiltration.

Cropping system changes may mean reduced nitrates 1
Conventional wisdom has been that increased corn acres and more use of nitrogen fertilizer translates to increased nitrate-nitrogen concentrations in downstream waters. But a recent analysis of water sampling and crop management databases indicates otherwise.
Corn and soybean producers find retailer who supports sustainable farming 1
Program centers on using data to use less nitrogen which results in cutting greenhouse gas emissions and improving water quality.
Farmers apply science to optimize nitrogen on corn 1
“First, I was surprised that Adapt-N and our Soil Scan 360 testing found so much of the 150 to 160 pounds of N applied in the spring could be lost by the summer. And then I was surprised that when we added 50 pounds of N per acre by plane in June, there was a 30 bushel per acre yield increase.” -- Brent Hall, agronomy manager, South Central Co-op, Lacona, Iowa
2016 Conservation Legacy Awards: Conservation is a family tradition

Three generations of Winsors have been working since the 1940s to sustain soil and water resources on the family farm in northeastern Kansas. “Having those practices in place allows my brother and I to implement newer conservation techniques, such as water management and cover crops," says Andy Winsor.

2016 Conservation Legacy Awards: Sustainable, cost-effective system

About 10 years ago, John Verell transitioned from cotton to corn, wheat and double-cropped soybeans, made no-till a priority and began to use cover crops. “Erosion just isn’t an issue any more,” this year’s Conservation Legacy Award winner for the South Region says.

2016 Conservation Legacy Awards: A never-till mindset

Cory Atkins has a “never-till” mindset. The southwest Delaware farmer is 100 percent no-till on all his corn, soybeans and wheat, and moving closer to that on his vegetable crops.

Manage tile drainage water

Nitrate management in tile water is a big reason why this water control structure has slowly gained a foothold in the Corn Belt, but its potential for providing timely water to corn and soybeans may spell the future for this underground tile water management tool.

Going all-in on cover crops 1

Some farmers want to try a new idea on a few acres to evaluate it before using it in a big way. Not Robert Harvey––at least when the idea is cover crops. The Guthrie County, Iowa, farmer went all-in on cover crops two years ago, seeding cereal rye on all 1,100 acres he farms with his father, Gerald.

Control water levels and nitrogen with tile systems

Nitrate management in tile water is a big reason why this water control structure has slowly gained a foothold in the Corn Belt, but its potential for providing timely water to corn and soybeans may spell the future for this underground tile water management tool.

Detect crop stress with thermal maps

What is the earliest possible way to detect stress or disease in your corn and soybean fields? Brian Sutton, a flying farmer from Lowell, Ind., takes their temperatures. The thermal cameras used in his AirScout service detects stress and disease in plants before they change color, when he still has time to take corrective action, he says.

Farmers try controlled drainage to keep water, nutrients in place

"I can't make it rain, but I can do my best to capture and keep what I have to use it for my crops," says Arliss Nielsen, a Wright County, Iowa, no-tiller. This year he took the unusual step of venturing into controlled drainage.

Focus on yield stressors to maximize return on crops

To make up for lower corn and soybean prices, you might be tempted to emphasize spending on inputs across the board for top corn and soybean yields. Instead, consider a plan that funnels your focus and money into management decisions that target top yield stressors.

Help with on-farm trials

If you want to test products or management ideas on your farm but don’t have the time or expertise for your own comparisons, help could be as close as your seed corn dealer. They can likely do most of the heavy lifting in setting up the trials and analyzing the results of testing nitrogen rates, plant populations, herbicides, fungicides seed varieties and more.

Landlords seek cover crops?  2

“In a 2010 survey, we asked landlords to rate the importance of characteristics they consider when evaluating tenant performance,” says J. Gordon Arbuckle Jr., a sociologist at Iowa State University. “More than 90% of landlords ranked ‘ability to maintain soil productivity’ and ‘ability to avoid soil erosion’ as important or very important."

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