Wednesday, August 17, 2011
David Brandt is an innovative farmer near Carroll, Ohio in beautiful Fairfield County. He and I talk about notill and cover crops and have for many years now.
Today he hosted a notill cover crop tour of his farm. Farmers from all over got to see many different covers growing where his wheat was last month and how they grow and look like.
We all agreed about the simplest way to start playing with cover crops is drill rye right behind corn or soybean harvest or drill or plant radishes and Austrian Winter Peas behind wheat or maybe really early corn or soybeans depending on where you live.
We got to stare at his 200 bu corn across the fence with only 60 lbs of purchased nitrogen on it while the wagons drove across the cover crop strips in the wheat stubble. He and I have both done it before and he has done it again.
The best thing we saw was his old orange clay soils turned black with organic matter after years of notilling and cover cropping. That was the very best thing we saw today. 1/2 percent organic matter soils raised to 4 and 5 percent. That is an accomplishment! No wonder he has won awards with his conservation efforts, they are well deserved.
We saw sunn hemp, buckwheat, phacelia, sunflowers, and all kinds of legumes. One mix cost $107 an acre but we do it just to learn!
Farmers are really catching on to this and the place was packed. I guess he could have handled a few more visitors but the pole barn was overflowing for lunch!
I enjoyed seeing a lot of my innovative farmer friends and it was a beautiful day in Ohio.