Berkshire Conservation District
Jay Galusha and his uncles John and Bill own and operate Fairfield Dairy Farm in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Jay works with the Berkshire Conservation District, just like his grandfather.
“I have always paid attention to my soil,” Jay told NACD. “I began cover cropping my first year because it just made sense.”
Jay uses cover crops and maintains permanent sod on the steep areas of his farm to protect the soil from erosion. He also samples the soils in his fields every year and applies fertilizer accordingly.
“I moldboard plowed for many years, but about six years ago, I switched to a disk chisel followed by a cultipacker to save fuel and time and to maintain residue on the surface,” Jay said.
In 2016, NRCS visited Jay’s farm to discuss no-till and to take a good look at his soils. “I knew that my wheat cover crop had a good root system on it, but it never occurred to me to leave it on the surface and no-till,” Jay said. “It made sense that if I left the roots in place, the water would infiltrate better in those channels as well as the worm holes. I decided to give it (no-till) a go on 25 acres of corn and 6 acres of pumpkins. The rest is history.”
Jay and his uncles have encountered some challenges using conservation practices, however. “We’re located on the side of a mountain in a narrow valley, so our growing season is fairly short and we have a short window to get our cover crops in after harvest,” he said.
Jay has shortened his corn maturity to stretch that window out a bit, which has some of his dairy farmer clients worried about lower yields. Jay says that worry is misplaced. “There’s this belief out there that ‘no-till means no yield,’ but we’re starting to see in Massachusetts that’s just isn’t true!”
You can read more about Jay and his operation here on NRCS’ website or watch the video below!