On November 12, ILF farmer partner Rick Juchems hosted an ILF field day on his farm near Plainfield. The 68 attendees had great conversations and visited Rick’s cover crop sites on his farm. Writer Jean Caspers-Simmet was there and wrote two articles from what she heard and saw.
One story ran in the Post Bulletin, a regional newspaper based out of Rochester, MN: Farmers Are Cover Crop Believers. The story has great quotes from Juchems and ILF farmer partner Jon Gisleson, who spoke at the field day about their experiences growing cover crops in northeast Iowa.
“Gisleson said that this past spring when his area received huge amounts of rain, he had no soil movement where there were cover crops. He sprayed burn down and as wet as the ground was his drill never picked up any soil when he planted soybeans into the dead rye. ‘It was a beautiful seeding environment,’ he said.”
The other article was at AgriNews.com: Erosion Occurring at a Faster Rate Than Calculations Show. This story features Iowa State University agronomy professor Rick Cruse who was also a presenter at the field day. He focused on soil erosion and yield loss.
“Research shows that as the thickness of top soil decreases, productivity goes down. In areas where soil already is thin and it becomes more eroded, yields drop a lot. Farmers fix ephemeral gullies by disking and filling them with top soil, Cruse said.
When a heavy rain occurs, that soil washes away. Cruse said people tell him that yields are continuing to go up, but those increases are because of technology, which masks the declines because of erosion.
‘Any practice that gives you yield drag, you abandon it,’ Cruse said. ‘Soil erosion is giving you yield drag.'”
Thanks, Jean, for attending and helping to call attention to the issue of erosion and ways that farmers can fix it.