Indiana farmers planted nearly one million acres of cover crops in 2017, according to a recent survey. Cover crops are now the third-most planted crop in the state, next to corn and soybeans. Yet many farmers have yet to adopt the practice on their farm.
Hoosier Ag Today has partnered with the Indiana Conservation Cropping Systems Initiative to release a monthly podcast to answer many questions and highlight the benefits of soil health and conservation measures.
Jamie Scott grows corn, soybeans, and wheat on his 100% no-till Kosciusko County farm, and he helps other farmers get started with cover crops. He joined us for the first HAT Soil Health Podcast and said the best way to get started is after wheat.
“The wheat gives us a better window to utilize more cover crops and get more growth out of them before our killing frost, especially if you get into Northern Indiana, Southern Michigan, and the farther north you go. We just have limited time from fall until that winter approaches. After wheat gives us a lot better window to utilize more things and get more out of it, which is a nice way for everyone to start.”
Scott says many farmers tend to look at the cost of using cover crops and don’t realize the return on investment opportunity that is there.
“I would say on average we’re seeing a 20-40 bushel yield gain after this diversity on our soil. I’ve had some guys is high as 100 bushel increase over anything else on their farm.”
Scott is joined by Northwest Indiana Grazing Specialist for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service Susannah Hinds on the podcast to discuss how grazing benefits soil health. You can find The HAT Soil Health Podcast here.