Except for a central Indiana couple, the 2013 Master Farmer recipients farm in southwest Indiana. The southern-most of those is David Ring from Huntingburg in Dubois County. His family operation raises turkeys for Farbest and they milk about 100 cows. Crops grown are corn, soybeans, and wheat followed by double crop beans.
Ring’s son was unable to attend the late June banquet because wheat harvest was well underway.
“The wheat crop so far is probably one of the best crops I’ve ever harvested,” he told HAT. “We tried something different this year. We got a 16 row Kinsey planter with splitters and we put the bean meters in and we put a wheat disc in and planted our wheat in 15 inch rows. There’s a lot of curiosity about how that was going to work and it’s doing well. We planted about half our wheat with that way and the other half with the traditional way and it’s about the same yield.”
Rings says the corn looks great especially compared to this time last year. On the rolling land of Dubois County there are plenty of challenges and Ring has employed many practices over the years to preserve his soils.
“We have kind of, with the exception of the soybeans, gotten away from no till. We do what I call minimum till. We bought a tool called a Salford a few years ago. It’s a vertical tillage tool and we just lightly skim the ground with that thing but yet it leaves a residue that we can plant into and if we get some hard rains it really cuts down on erosion. But we have numerous dry dams, waterways and we use a lot of cover crops. We’re big on cover crops but we have to be in our part of the world.”
Master Farmer nominees are considered for the honor based on their actual operation and community service. One of Ring’s contributions years ago was to step into the classroom and become an ag education teacher. He told school officials he would do it so they wouldn’t drop the program since they couldn’t find a teacher.
Hear the full HAT interview:David Ring