Modernizing practices one step at a time

by | Nov 24, 2023 | 5 Ag Stories, News

Implementing change into your operation one practice at a time and improving efficiency and environmental stewardship along the way.  Iowa’s Conservation Farmer of the Year provides his recommendations for you based upon experience.  5th generation family farmer Dan Voss says cover crops are a great place to start modernizing farming practices, and he says he’s had great help over the years:

My friend Jim O’Connell actually started before me, and I think it’s really good when you’re doing something like this to have people you can talk to who have done it well.  Everybody’s a little different. I mean, some people can do it one way and some another, that doesn’t mean either one’s right or wrong. It’s what fits into their operation. I’ve just been pretty happy with cover crops.  I can’t say that I’ve really ever had a yield reduction as a result.v I know I saved a lot of soil through the years. My soil health is better.  I was in a field last week that was it’s got a three-way cover crop, including oats.  That ground, even though we’ve been so dry this summer, it’s really nice and soft.”

Mellow, providing a consistent and uniform seed bed, and he says those benefits carry on throughout the growing season:

“I think as a society, one thing that we always want is instant success.  You’re not going to always see it with cover crop, but over time you really will.  You’ll have the the soil protected from heavy fall or spring rains.  The organic matter, that’ going to go up in soil tests to benefit your cash crops.  If you let the cover crop grow a little taller, you do have some weed suppression.  I’m not saying you can cut out herbicide, but maybe reduce the cost or just your weed control will be better.   I don’t really have a problem with Tall Waterhemp.

You can hear more from Dan and Iowa Soybean association conservation agronomist Evan Brehm on bringing this enhanced practice to your farm in the latest Pods of Potential Podcast.