Local farmers utilize “green manure”
Many county farmers have been taking a new approach of utilizing older agricultural techniques such as cover crops, a crop grown for the enrichment of the soil, and to avoid tilling up the land. A non-profit educational organization, No-till on the Plains, puts its passion into providing information for farmers to adopt and further develop these techniques that center around high-quality no-till systems.
Matt Meyerhoff, supervisory district conservationist, said that cover crop, or “green manure,” has gotten the attention of several farmers in the area.
“Several producers attended the No-till on the Plains conference in January,” Meyerhoff said. “They liked what they saw and the utilization spread from there. It’s a lost art that they used to do in the 1920’s and ’30s.”
These cover crops serve as more than a no-till system, as they also benefit the soil, in turn benefiting the farmer too.
“Some of the benefits of cover crops include weed control, they also break up and enhance the life of the soil,” he said. “It also gives the soil a firmer structure that makes it possible to take equipment on it sooner after rains.”
Meyerhoff says that this new approach to an old school method maximizes the diversity of the soil and mimics a natural prairie environment.
People who grow smaller gardens for personal use also can be found utilizing cover crops on a smaller scale.
“It’s like putting mulch on top of a garden but you don’t till it up,” he said. “Like when some people put straw down when they plant tomatoes and they grow up through the straw, except with cover crops you’re basically planting that straw.”
Last modified May 3, 2018