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This field had very poor soil structure. The regional NRCS specialist told me that many fields in the area had similar issues

Fall Cover Crop Management

While in southern Minnesota in early September 2013 I was asked when a farmer should plow his cover crop field this fall because he needs the fields to be “black” this winter in preparation for next spring.  I shuddered.  There I was in a beautiful field of cover crops that are jump-starting some biology on […]

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Rye Pit

Root Pit Reveals 40″ Cereal Rye Roots

I am blessed to hear from farmers around the world about their cover cropping adventures.  One young man, Brian Scott, from Carroll County, Indiana has generously shared his information with me again this spring.  This post is Brian’s report from early May, 2013.  To see Brian’s photographs, click here. We dug a few pits in […]

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Don Robison holding up a corn plant from the cover crop plot area  that had Austrian Winter Peas and Radishes.

Followup in On-Farm Cover Crop Trial

The corn is now harvested at Robison Farms in rural Greenwood, IN and we are pleasantly surprised. Accurate Yield Estimates We actually achieved a somewhat higher yield than the hand check “guesstimate” that my brother Don and I made back in August.  We reported this yield in the blog post Cover Crops Provide Improved Corn Yields […]

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From Right to left; Radishes, Oats, Winter Rye, and various mixes.  Are these cover crops valuable?  I believe so because they are through the compaction zone and the rye and many of the mixes will have components that survive the winter.

Cover Crops Planted After Wheat in a Dry Year

Can you still gain value in a cover crop when it is planted after wheat in a dry year? During the week of October 15, 2012 I traveled a wide swath of Wisconsin looking at cover crops.  In the eastern half of the state the cover crops looked very good.  In the western half the […]

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This cover crop plot near Coleman, WI had beautiful radishes with large tubers - and thankfully NO bears!

Cover Crops and Bears?

Radishes, Crimson Clover, and Bears Walking in cover crop fields in northern Indiana is easy compared to doing it northern Wisconsin. In northern Indiana my main issue is tripping over large radish tubers sticking out of the ground. In northern Wisconsin my main issue was that plus watching out for bears. I’m not talking about […]

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Each cover crop treatment out yielded the "no cover crop check". The top three yielding plots also had the least compaction and highest chlorophyll readings through out the drought stricken summer.

Cover Crops Provide Improved Corn Yields in On-Farm Trial

All of what is reported below was accomplished after only one year of cover crops.  This work was inspired by a conversation Don and I had last winter with Dr. Eileen Kladivko from Purdue University.  As I say in cover crop meetings, Don’t expect a miracle the first year – but look for one. Over […]

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One of the joys of working with farmers is the excitement I see on their faces when they "get it" about soil health.  There were several excited farmers again this spring.

Cover Crop Root Pits Reveal Plenty

During the first week of April I was in several root pits in northwest Indiana and boy did we find plenty of interesting factoids! I was assisted by Eileen Kladivko from Purdue University on one day and Barry Fisher, Indiana NRCS State Agronomist, on another day. What We Found in the Cover Crop Root Pits […]

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Constriction on radish began at around 3 inches deep

Cover Crops Enhance Water Infiltration/Percolation

In late September of 2011 I was walking in our family corn field in central Indiana–in the pouring rain. Following the wettest spring in the eastern corn belt in 100 years we had a summertime drought that saw less than 2 inches in July and August combined. In that same time period we had 32 […]

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These cover crops were flown into a seed corn field in NW Indiana and both the radish and annual ryegrass had roots over 20" deep.

Short Cover Crops Put Down Deep Roots

Many cover crops were planted in September and even into early October in much of the Midwest in 2011.  Some of those cover crops are not very advanced in their growth by mid-November. Does this mean that they are useless or worthless?  As I often say in meetings or at field days…”always take a shovel […]

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DSCN3997

Cover crops for gardens – and my wife, the cover cropping queen!

My wife Sally must love me…or at least she is observant to see how cover crops are improving the soil in our family gardens.  Over the nearly 19 years we have lived in our home we have had a garden where we often have raised vegetables for the Hispanic families that we minister to.  A […]

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