Dan and Kris Nigg
Sisseton, South Dakota
Roberts Conservation District
We operate a corn, soybean and wheat farm near Sisseton and are members of the Roberts Conservation District.
Soil Health Practices:
We have a corn, soybean and wheat operation. We practice minimal till and no till as well as grow cover crops. We have planted shelter belts, put in riparian buffers, pollinator plots, CRP, WRP and grass waterways. We have always practiced crop rotation and have reduced tillage over the past 20 years.
In the process of changing tillage practices over the years, we had to deal with more residue on the field during planting. We have adapted our planters with row cleaners and down-pressure systems, and have bought a vertical tillage tool to manage residue and incorporate fertilizer ahead of no-till corn. For five years we have planted cover crops following spring wheat harvest to help build organic matter. We have adapted variable rate population to boost yields on lighter soil.
We have had a challenge growing cover crops behind spring wheat with a short fall season. When we started planting cover crops after wheat harvest, we would spray the stubble to kill weeds then plant cover crops. Most times it was after the first of September before the cover crops were planted. Now we plant right behind the combine to give the cover crops a few weeks more growing time. This has worked much better. We are still challenged with moisture in the fall and out of five years, two years the cover crops germinated well, and then ran out of moisture.