What is in this article?:
- Local farmers, local soils is one byword of an Indiana farmer group meeting to brainstorm farming problems and network.
- The group compares notes on cover crops and vertical tillage in continuous corn.
- Spin off: A similar group in Idaho found that bankers began to understand the agronomics of no-till and realized these networking low-tillers were much lower risks for loans than the conventional tillers, says its organizer.
Dave Rodibaugh wants more from his cover crops. In addition to seeking advice from his local Extension officers or seed company representatives, he talks to neighbors.
Rodibaugh, who farms a little more than 2,000 acres in Renssalaer, Ind., is one of a dozen farmers participating in an informal peer group organized by Dan Perkins, Jasper County Soil & Water Conservation District program specialist. The growers meet regularly to discuss farm-related topics, examine new ideas and talk about what works and what doesn’t on their farms.
“I’m still looking for the economic benefit with cover crops,” says Rodibaugh, a longtime no-till farmer who added a cover crop mix of clover, radishes, cereal rye and annual rye to his operation three years ago. “I want it to be sustainable and not depend on government money to make it work.”
A couple of farmers in the group have seen the economic benefit, and have increased their use of cover crops as a result.
“It shows that someone can do it rather than someone telling me it can be done,” he says. “That alone spurs me to keep trying.”