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Conservation Practices That Payoff

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Rodney Rulon farms in Hamilton and Tipton Counties. He’s been employing conservation practices like no-till and cover crops for the past 20+ years. He says he really believes in the power of conservation on their farm both as an economic model as well as a civic model.

While adopting some of these practices might be a little scary at first, Rulon says a good place to start from an economic standpoint might be no-till.

“No-till was pretty easy to look at initially, once we figured out the system and established that we could maintain or improve our yields. That was really the big question upfront. So, everybody that’s thinking about switching from a conventional system to a no-till system, the first question is going to be, ‘Are my yields going to hold?’”

He’s proven over the years that yields aren’t just holding- they’re improving. And there are other benefits.

“If we can reduce our costs with reduced labor, reduced equipment, reduced fuel, and then maintain our yield, then that model works. So, less cost, same income, that’s good for the farm!”

Rulon says cover crops were a bit more difficult to adopt at first because there wasn’t much in the way of research to know what impact cover crops would have. But now,

“What we’ve really found over the years is that with bringing cover crops into the system, it’s more than just an additive affect. It’s a multiplier. We’re actually increasing the health of the soil, improving our water infiltration, water holding capacity, which leads to increased yields during these crazy drought and flood scenarios that we’re having these days.”

You can hear more from Rulon as he joins Indiana NRCS State Conservationist Jerry Raynor on the latest HAT Soil Health Podcast.