I have been an educator of soils at the University of Minnesota Extension for 18 years. I have watched soil scientist retire, leave to other positions or pass away. Due to tight budgets or changes in priorities, many are not replaced. So please help me cultivate the next generation of soil scientists. There are websites with creative and scientific resources for teaching soils. Give it a try. Remember: Soil is not a dirty word!...More
Where are you in your journey to build a conservation legacy? What is keeping you from making progress? Will it require a change in mindset? Will it require landlord buy-in, since it provides long-term benefits for their investment? I truly believe improved soil health will be a game-changer. Go for it....More
If you think your soil loss is tolerable because the revised universal soil loss equation (RUSLE) says so, you might want to think again. “We are learning that we must have perennial cover in places where water moves, even with no-till,” says Rick Cruse, agronomy professor, Iowa State University (ISU)....More
With the spotlight trained on their farming practices, M&J Farms has taken a proactive approach to stewardship and sustainability. The Starkey family, which has a long-term commitment to no-till, added cover crops in 2005....More
The journey toward sustainable high yields has been a long one at this farm, located near Wellman, Iowa. The family’s first no-till field was planted nearly 40 years ago, and the entire farm was 100% no-till by 1990. Cover crops (primarily cereal rye) have been used for more than 10 years....More
For the Thomas family, conservation means constant improvement. “For our farm operation to be a great example of a family farm business and a good neighbor in our community, we have to really work to include both standard practices as well as innovative practices that conserve natural resources,” Jimmy Thomas says....More
In the 5 ag stories to read this week, get some considerations for seed treatments when trying to cut costs this spring. If you plant cover crops, be aware of residual herbicides, and there's still time to sign up for the Conservation Stewardship Program. Read 5 tillage myths, and watch a video thanking farmers, that also helps FFA.
Are your tillage practices justified by real crop responses? “Individual farmer decisions about tillage system choice are often more motivated by traditions, prior experiences and what the neighbors are doing than by reliable research,” says Tony Vyn, Purdue University Extension agronomist and cropping systems specialist....More
More farmers, ranchers and others who rely on the land are taking action to improve the health of their soil. Many farmers are actually building the soil. How? By using soil health management systems that include cover crops, diverse rotations and no-till.
The five agriculture stories to read this week include farm revenue outlook for 2015, as well as long-term agricultural projections. Read about a farmer who is building soil organic carbon to grow better crops, and a company that's got a robot to do your nitrogen sidedressing. Finally, for some entertainment, take a fresh breath of farm air with the Peterson Farm Bros.
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is extending the public comment period on the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) interim rule. Public comments will be accepted through Jan. 20, 2015....More
Wayne Kramer cut his nitrogen use by 33% and has applied no commercial phosphorus or potassium to his corn since joining his local farmer-led watershed group in Iowa five years ago. The Farley dairyman collaborates with his Hewitt Creek neighbors to voluntarily improve water quality with best management practices....More
Five agriculture stories to read this week includes cover crop benefits and maintenance tips for your combine before it's put away for the winter. Read about and watch a recent debate over GMOs, where the pro-GMO side takes a win. Hear a corn and soybean price outlook from Iowa State ag economist Chad Hart. And, for a little fun, check out some funny farming memes on Facebook!
In this second installment of our best stories from 2014, farmers showcase drainage systems that also irrigate, along with high-yield corn production tips. Read how tillage increases compaction, and plan for a micronutrient strategy. There are conservation ideas to help farmers be competitive, as well as thoughts on soil lime. All of these stories offered farmers an approach to help them Think Different about their farm operations.
As we look back on 2014, we remember some of our best stories, tips and ideas from farmers. Included in this first Best Of installment are ideas about data management and using and sharing that data to farm smarter, better. There are conservation ideas and soil health tips. Read about biotic fertilizers, and tips for telling your farm story. All of these stories offer farmers the chance to Think Different about their operations.
The November issue of Corn+Soybean Digest offered fresh ideas in merging art and science to farm for the big picture. There are also corn residue breakdown myths, including a photo gallery. Read challenges in rail transport, and weed control. Get an outlook about corn production in China, and see what's ahead in soil health tests. Finally, read about the weather future for the Corn Belt. And don't forget regular pieces from Editor Kurt Lawton, as well as new ideas from Xperts Ed Usset and Dan Frieberg.
Soil health tests are popping up around every corner, and farmer use is growing. Each has its adherents, and many offer a wealth of information to a degree unimaginable only a few years ago. As a soil scientist and landowner, Ward Labs President Ray Ward believes a diverse microbial community is an important measurement of soil health....More
Joel Gruver, Western Illinois University agronomist, planted specific cover crops in a band, then after their demise he pulled soil samples in the cover crop row and compared them to samples taken 15 inches off the row. There were substantial differences in soil-test levels of P and K—“comparable to a nutrient-banding effect from a commercial fertilizer (banding) applicator,” Gruver says....More
Five agriculture stories to read offer advice on fall tillage and insight into corn and soybean consumption after a large harvest. The USDA is seeking public comment on changes to the Conservation Stewardship Program, and if you're going to test cornstalks for nitrate, now is the time. For a good laugh, check out a bit by Jimmy Kimmel where he asked consumers what GMO means.
This conference emphasizes proven farmer experience and applied science in conservation tillage. Learn how heavier, colder soils aren’t necessarily the challenge they’re made out to be. And, what have long-time no-tillers and reduced-tillage farmers learned that could spare you the same lessons?...More
Corn and soybean harvest is in full swing but some fields are a little wet, and wetter soils compact easier. However, there are three ways to minimize the extent of the compaction you may create when driving through the field....More
Cover crops offer many benefits to farmers, says Eileen Kladivko, an agronomist and cover crops specialist with Purdue University. Some of the benefits include: improved nitrogen use and water quality, erosion prevention, better soil quality, weed suppression and enhanced wildlife habitat....More
The September issue of Corn+Soybean Digest offers a lot for readers. From data management to tips for financial success in turbulent times, what farmers learned in 2014 to strip-till tips. Check out these feature stories for insight on Ukraine corn exports, as well as marketing advice for low prices, using tillage for weed control and cover crop seed mixes.