a really interesting article this month. I found it on Crop Talk one morning and thought it would make a great discussion piece. All the production articles I've written talk about improving farms like the two in the example.
Darrell has been to our place and I've been on some of Ken Ferrie's farms he consults with. I found a farm with the most beautiful soil you can imagine with black Flanigan Drummer soils. It has a 199 bushel APH but the last time it hit that yield level was seven years ago. Last year it averaged 45 bushels. It's been a steady decline in yield ever since the last good yield.
The soil test readings make mine look sick, yet my yields are higher. It shouldn't be that way. So I took some spadefuls of soil home and did the Solvita test. The soil was at the bottom of the chart, biologically dead.
That doesn't explain all the differences between Farm A and Farm B but it explains some of it. I've not found many soils that wouldn't benefit from cover crops or a more diversified rotation. Corn-soybean rotations are killing beautiful Midwest soils. Add glyphosate and GMO to that mix and you find the prematurely dying crops I talk about.
With the soil test results I saw the first thing I would do is spread gypsum, plant a cover crop like cereal rye and no-till soybeans into most of it for two years. Farmers are wanting to grow less corn now anyway because of the economic situation, so now would be a great time. My best rotation is C-C-S-S-W to double crop beans or a longer season cover crop. That alone has added 20-50 bushel corn yields to the farms I've worked with.
These ideas really work and are really catching on. Though we may be talking only 10% if the farms because only the best farm managers know something is wrong, it's progress. Again I ask my favorite question to you.
As you are combining this fall, what would be the best thing you could do to your farm or your soil to increase productivity and economic yields?
The answers are here, now how do we get them applied?