The focus of our row crop operation is corn, soybeans and occasionally wheat or small grains. These are the main row crops grown in our area due to our climate, weather patterns and available markets.
Soil health is an important focus of our row crop operations. It includes practices such as no till planting of crops, cover crop establishment after the cash crops and adding soil health products into our fertilization and crop care protocols. Precision agriculture plays a large role on our farm, including capabilities of our equipment and farming procedures.
Our planter is equipped with row shut off technology and variable rate technology. Row shut off allows for seed to not be planted in areas where it has already been planting, allowing us to save seed and not over plant areas.
Variable rate technology allows us to increase or decrease seen populations based upon the quality of the ground allowing more seed to be planted in areas where yields could be increased.
Our combine has the capabilities of recording the yields that we harvest in each area of the field. This allows us to be able to identify the higher or lower yielding areas of a field and address issues there if need be.
We also have our fields mapped and soil samples pulled in 2.5 acre increments. This allows us to address soil health or nutrient needs where they are truly needed whether than treating the whole field the same.
No-till & Cover Crop Benefits
Soil is living thing. Within just one handful of soil would be millions of bacteria, fungi and other microscopic organisms that have their own ecosystem within the soil. When soil is disturbed either by mechanical reasons, water erosion, etc., this ecosystem is changed and sometimes not for the better. No-till farming practices aim to keep soil disturbance to a minimum to allow as much of the ecosystem to stay in place as possible.
Cover crops combining the planting of cover crops into a no-till system further helps to keep the soil ecosystem as healthy as possible. The cover crops themselves provide root systems that the soil microbes can feed upon to stay healthy while also providing cover on top of the soil to prevent wind and water erosion and in many cases weed suppression.
To read, download or order the children's book, Where, oh Where, Does the Yellow Corn Grow? click here.
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