Kosciusko County Soil and Water Conservation District
My wife, Michelle, and I have three sons: Alex, Zach and Luke. I have been a supervisor in the Kosciusko County SWCD since 2007 and currently serve as vice chair. I farm with my father and brother and am also part of a family excavating business.
Soil Health Practices
Our cropping farm has been no-till for 20-plus years. We have used cover crops for about 10 years. The cover crop is applied aerially into a standing crop in the fall. We also use a 14-way cover crop after our wheat crop, drilled into the soil. We have also installed buffer strips along all streams and ditches and a two-stage ditch. We were tired of losing topsoil due to erosion. Through discussions with NRCS and our SWCD, we started implementing conservation practices, beginning with no-till about 20 years ago.
Our soil appears to be healthier, and we are not losing topsoil as we did with conventional tillage. Our productivity has increased, and we’ve cut back on commercial fertilizer applications. Drainage has also improved.
It has been a learning curve on management. The hardest thing was we had to learn was patience to wait for right field conditions for no-till planting and cover crop termination.
Soils are poorly drained, and we have limited cover crop choices this far north. It takes longer for soil to warm up and dry out. Learning patience is also a challenge.