As part of our demonstration farm project we have installed a phosphorous bed to pull out excess phosphorous before the water leaves the field. It protects the water, but it also helps us get the most out of our soil and nutrients.
I’ve learned that we can farm acres more efficiently, I can utilize less nutrients, and I can utilize the best herbicide/pesticide practices and manage my crops well. I can be successful on more acres with less labor and less time and less equipment. Overall it affects the bottom line. Every year that we can make a little bit more we can grow the business, ensure a future for my children and hopefully make the land better.
We strip band all of our fertilizer. We’re using soil tests. We’ve reduced our use of commercial fertilizer substantially, and we also use cover crops. About 90 percent of our acres are no-till. It’s amazing the results
we’ve seen in soil health, soil fertility, our reduced fuel, our reduced tillage. We found that we could implement these practices effectively and efficiently and that our bottom line will benefit.
Contour farming uses row patterns that run nearly level around an uneven field. It reduces soil erosion by as much as 50 percent and reduces sediment and runoff.
Areas between hills and other low areas are prone to gully formation during heavy rains. When gullies form, it increases soil erosion and nutrient runoff.
Cover crops are crops grown for the protection and enrichment of the soil.
Buried tile intakes allow water to be filtered through layers of soil and rock before it soaks into perforated tile and is drained away.
Soil sampling helps farmers make informed decisions about nutrient application that leads to better soil fertility.
No-till means the ground is not worked with a plow before planting or after harvest.
Strip-tilling combines the benefits of traditional tillage with the soil-protection advantages of no-till. Only the portion of the soil that contains the seed row is tilled.
Sidedressing of nutrients means applying during the growing season when crops need it most. This helps prevent over-application and losing fertilizer to surrounding waterways.
Fertilizer is applied in bands near where developing roots will easily reach it – either to the side and below the seed rows, slightly below the seeds, or in between rows. The banded application keeps contact between soil and fertilizer to a minimum.
Injection of fertilizers and nutrients below the soil is an effective technology for nutrient conservation on the farm. Because the fertilizers are injected below the surface, atmospheric losses of nutrients and surface runoff is minimized.
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