Greene County Soil and Water Conservation District
Beam Springs, Inc.
We are a 4th and 5th generation farm, along with Joe’s wife, Mona, and Mike’s wife, Mandi.
Soil Health Practices
Our farm has been no-till for over 30 years. In addition to no-till, the pathway to enhancing our soil health includes improving drainage with systematic tiling, increasing organic matter with cover crops, making manure and compost applications, as well as transitioning to a 3 or more crop rotation schedule. We strive to do as many good things to the soil as possible, while avoiding common farm practices that are harmful.
Twenty years ago we thought that a no-till corn/soybean rotation would increase organic matter. We now know that no-till alone will not accomplish this. It is however, the foundation on which other soil health practices can be added. These added practices not only build soil carbon, but also help to put a stop to soil erosion, as well as increase water infiltration and nutrient retention.
Our short-term challenges are managing allelopathy, carbon penalties, and successfully planting into green cover crops. Overcoming these and other issues will require us to learn from others who have experience in these areas, as well as having the insight and courage to try new things on our farm.
Our long-term goals include reducing our dependence on chemicals and fertilizers, and putting clean water into our streams as we work to regenerate our soils that have been degraded by decades of tillage and erosion.