Waseca Soil and Water Conservation District
Minnesota native Tom Klug owns and operates TBS Farms with his brother Steve in Waseca, Minnesota. The farm, once operated by their parents, has been in the family for over fifty years. Together the brothers run a grain and cattle operation, growing corn, alfalfa, and now, cereal rye. Intrigued by soil health practices he’d read about in magazines and seen on his neighbors’ land, Tom began using strip-till and no-till conservation practices ten years ago.
Over the past few years, Tom has noticed the benefits of using soil health practices and has done a fair amount of experimentation to determine which are the most effective on his operation. “I’m starting to look at different options—we’ve got to get the right combination,” Tom told NACD. “It’s just trying to get more out of the ground without taking too much out of it.”
Farming in southern Minnesota, one of the largest obstacles TBS Farms faces is the heavy, wet, cold ground every spring. When Tom discovered that strip till helped to get crops started, he began incorporating the practice every year. He now utilizes cover crops on an annual basis; after taking alfalfa out of production, he puts in no-till corn and cereal rye. The cover crops allow Tom to spread more manure, control small weed populations, and fortify his cattle feed with cereal rye. “It’s been somewhat of a (good) tool for us,” Tom said about cover crops. “With putting cereal rye and other cover crops down, it seems like it holds everything we’ve been losing over the last few years.”
When it comes to strip-till, Tom is convinced its working. “It looks like this strip-till system is probably the way to go for us with the type of ground we have,” he said. “We have heavy ground, most of it is fairly flat, it rolls a little bit but it’s not highly erodible.” Using strip-till is a way “to get more out of the ground without taking too much out of it.”