Dick HasheMcMinn County, TN

Richard (Dick) Hashe

McMinn County Soil Conservation District

McMinn County, Tennessee

Richard (Dick) Hashe is a fourth-generation farmer in McMinn County, Tennessee. He has also worked for the McMinn County Soil Conservation District since 2010, where he currently serves as the district’s administrative technician.

Hashe’s relatives purchased their farm in 1950 and converted it into a dairy farm that sustained them until 2009. Since then, however, the farm’s 200 acres have been divided into 115 acres for grain crops, 50 acres for pasture, 15 acres in woods and 20 acres for miscellaneous uses. The 115 acres for grain crops are split to grow 20 acres of corn and 95 acres of soybeans each year. Hashe’s rotation for these crops is one year of corn followed by three years of soybeans.

His family was one of the first no-till adopters in the county, starting the practice in 1969 with some occasional disking to keep their fields smooth. Hashe completed his last disking pass in 2009 and has since been continuous no-till.

In 2010, Hashe started experimenting with cover crop by planting a wheat cover on 14 acres. He expanded his experiment to 30 acres in 2011 and 2012, continuing to see if the practice would work for him. His experiments with the system showed an increase of six to eight bushels of soybeans per acre.

With an interest in providing more weed control and reducing nutrient applications, he switched to a three-way cover crop mix of triticale, crimson clover and radish in 2013. In 2014, he paired this new mixture with a crimper roller to terminate it and began seeing the benefits he desired. Hashe found that his crimper roller allowed him to grow his cover crop to its head stage, providing increased organic matter and a better mat for weeds.

Hashe has also seen improved soybean stands and water infiltration. His farm had a chronic wet spot that disappeared during his 2014 crop year, which he attributes to his cover crops for solving. Erosion on his operation has become non-existent and his soil structure has moved from a platy structure to slightly platy and crumbly.

He plans to further improve his techniques, eventually adopting cover crops on all his acres. He hopes that these techniques will continue to not only improve his soil health, but also his overall operation.

Updated May 2020.

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