Sunday, September 22, 2013


Can you pronounce that name?  I couldn't until I met Loran Steinlage at the Farm Progress Show near Nevada Iowa a few years ago.

"Cover crops have been used for years as a nurse crop for alfalfa and to protect areas of field that tend to erode, says Loran Steinlage, a West Union corn and soybean grower who is Rolan’s father. But interest in cover crops like GS3 Quality Seed’s NitroRadish skyrocketed this year after a wet spring prevented farmers in Iowa and surrounding states from seeding hundreds of thousands of acres of corn and soybeans.

Rolan Steinlage became a dealer for GS3 Quality Seed as part of his FFA Supervised Agricultural Experience. He seeded a cover crop demonstration plot at the family’s farm, as well as five totes that weigh about 5,000 pounds each, rest on pallets and can be transported to field days on a flatbed trailer.

"I've been watching what my Dad has done with cover crops and I decided to become a cover crop seed dealer with GS3 Quality Seed for two reasons. First, the demand and, second, for my FFA Supervised Agricultural Experience.

"I'm very interested in the root pits that my Dad has dug on our farm and seeing how cover crops like radish and annual ryegrass affect soil tilth. My goal is to become an agronomist."

Loran Steinlage and Chad Ingels, Iowa State University Extension watershed project coordinator in northeast Iowa,  approached Holthaus about having the students try seeding NitroRadish. Steinlage, Ingels and GS3 Quality Seed’s president Garth Mulkey had explored coating the NitroRadish seed with a temperature-sensitive coating. They thought that seeding this during sidedressing could eliminate the need to seed the cover crop later in the summer. After they weren’t able to obtain the seed coating, they decided to make the NitroRadish seed available to the FFA students.

Steinlage and Ingels offered the North Fayette Valley FFA students a free, 50-pound bag of NitroRadish seed to try on their farms.

“We told the kids, ‘All we want is a little feedback” on how the cover crop seeding works, Steinlage says.
In addition to seeding NitroRadish in an outside row of contoured corn at Jensen’s farm, Johnson, Streif and Pleggenkuhle and about seven other FFA students visited the farm of Loran and Brenda Steinlage. In addition to viewing Rolan’s cover crop plot and the cover crops growing in totes students who wanted to receive a free bag of NitroRadish were able to get one free of charge."

Loran and his son Rolan have had an amazing story develop since I met Loran.  It is much deeper than radishes!  If you follow AgTalk, you know what I mean!  I admire how they have dealt with adversity on a daily basis.

Jeff Hoedel reminded me Thursday just how powerful AgTalk really is.  It is changing the way farmers farm.  The Steinlage's are yet another example!

Ed Winkle

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