Everyone knows that you can’t no-till and use cover crops in the river bottoms, right? Wrong. Ray McCormick farms over 1,000 acres of river bottoms near Vincennes and is featured on the latest HAT Soil Health Podcast, found now at hoosieragtoday.com. He says it shouldn’t be called no-till; it should be called never-till, and he’s been doing it on his farm since the 70s.
He introduced cover crops in the late 90s and now seeds them directly off the combine during harvest through an innovative approach.
“Every field we combine, we seed with seeders on the combine so that whether it rains or it’s wet out there where you may not be able to drill or so forth, when we leave the field, it’s seeded. Those fields now are lush green where we picked corn down there 2 or 3 weeks ago. Those turnips and annual ryegrass are 3 or 4 inches tall now. We’re already sequestering carbon and anchoring down residue. And it’s just pretty.”
It’s pretty and it saves him money doing it that way.
“Being able to seed with a bulk tinder and being able to seed your fields off the combine, it just takes two trips down to one. So, my seeding cost isn’t $14/acre for an airplane or running a drill and tractor across the fields. My costs were easily made up the first year for the seeder. Because it does it so accurately by having all these tubes delivering it all across the footprint of your corn head, I’ve been able to reduce my seeding rate. So, my cover crop costs are way below anyone else I know.”
Hear more with McCormick, like how he does it, in the HAT Soil Health Podcast below: