Lincoln City, Delaware
Sussex Conservation District
FFA Alumni Association
Delaware Farm Bureau
My name is Carl P. King, Jr. (C.P.) from Lincoln City, Delaware. I’m the owner, operator, and manage a third generation farm of approximately 1,000 acres growing wheat, soybeans, corn, and sorghum for grain and commercial seed purposes. I have also grown processing vegetables. I live in Sussex County and am a cooperator of the Sussex Conservation District. I am also a member of the FFA Alumni Association and the Delaware Farm Bureau.
Soil Health Practices
We are a minimum till/vertical till operation utilizing normal crop rotation and planting cover crops. Every acre of the farm is covered either with wheat or a cover crop. We have been planting cover crops for approximately 20 years, but this year we tried some cover crop mixes. We used mostly a wheat and tillage radishes mix with some having clover added. I am very pleased with the outcome of the mixes and highly encourage others to try. By utilizing the Sussex Conservation District’s air seeder, we were able to plant our cover crops into our standing cash crop to establish the cover crop early. By planting with the air seeder, the cover crops got up to a two month head start on growth, which enables better establishment of certain cover crops to exist and for the crop to better achieve maximum potential. I believe in every reasonable potential method of protecting the environment and improving soil health. I am also willing to try new things when it comes to farming in general and am very interested in learning about new technologies.
Since using minimal tillage practices, we have been able to achieve higher yields with less inputs, labor, equipment, fuel, wear and tear, etc. Minimal tillage also conserves moisture during droughty conditions. This year we planted cover crops into our standing soybeans with the air seeder. There was concern about the cover crops interfering with the harvest of the beans. With the new equipment design of the draper head used in a harvest process, there was no noticeable challenge whatsoever.
We are located on the Delmarva Peninsula (Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia) which is part of the Chesapeake Bay, Delaware Bay, and Inland Bays Watersheds. Our area is considered to be high in nutrients. By utilizing soil health practices, water quality and improved soil health can be accomplished. Sussex County produces more lima beans than any other county on the east coast. There are a lot of farmers in the region that grow a variety of vegetables, and cover crops can help improve soil health because of the tillage methods used with those vegetable crops.