I serve many roles as a row crop farmer, pork producer and an integrated solutions manager for a John Deere dealer. Water quality is very important to me and our family and I’d like to share what we do on our farm to improve water quality.
For me, the start of the next season is right after the crop from the previous season is harvested. We come back to put in cover crops, which is something we plant to hold soil and nutrients in place on the farm, also prevent erosion and runoff. After the cover crops, we apply our manure for the year.
Manure is not just applied willy-nilly, it’s too valuable, it is applied at a very specific rate for the amount of crop that I will grow next year. I ensure the plants will get only what they need, where they need it.
The cover crops utilize the manure and it stays there until the next spring when I come in, terminate the cover crop and plant the very next crop without using tillage at all to disturb the soil.
With this system of no-til, cover crops and responsible nutrient management, I have seen success with the nutrients staying in the ground along with improved soil health and water quality. Farmers are taking the initiative to do the right things and I’m always happy to answer questions about today’s farming practices and water quality.