There are no silver bullet
solutions thatsustainably balance environmental quality with productivity and profitability in agriculture! A better silver strategy is . . . buckshot! Silver buckshot is a concept promoted by a collaboration of agencies and orgs called GREEN LANDS BLUE WATERS
Impact of the 2008 floods
on IA soils20 tons per acre average soil loss across 2,284,000 ac! Conservation structures needing repair 12,157 Grassed Waterways 8,137 Terraces 3,375 Water and Sediment Control Basins 800 Grade Stabilization StructuresFields with combinations of two or more conservation practices (e.g., no-till + cover crops) performed much better than fields with a single practice
"Farmers are not to blame,"
said University ofIllinois researcher Mark David. "They are using the same amount of nitrogen as they were 30 years ago and getting much higher corn yields, but we have created a very leaky agricultural system.This allows nitrate to move quickly from fields into ditches and on to the Gulf of Mexico. We need policies that reward farmers to help correct the problem."
A recent survey by Farm
Futures magazine of morethan 1,000 farmersfound those on the cutting edge ofconservation were actually more profitable than other farmers. In short, it ispossible to be both green and gold!
Do you know any early
adopters? adopt ≠ adaptDo you know any master adapters?Farmers that make cover crops work tend to be master adapters!
Opportunities for planting cover crops
• Dormant seeding early or late winter • Frost seeding • In the spring • When planting summer crops • Prevent plant scenarios • While sidedressing • After small grains • After vegetables • After seed corn or silage corn• Aerial or high clearance seeding into standing crops in late summer/early fall • After early corn/bean grain harvest • After full season corn/bean grain harvest
Franzluebbers AJ and JA Stuedemann.
2008. Soil physical responses to cattle grazing cover crops under conventional and no tillage in the Southern Piedmont USA. Soil and Tillage Research 100, 141-153. • Cover crops (winter or summer) can provide high- quality forage and increase economic return and farmdiversity, but some farmers have been reluctant to take this advantage due to perceived “compaction” caused by animal trampling.• Grazing of cover crops can compact soil, but not to the detrimental levels often perceived.
Radishes are not the only
good bio-driller!! • much less top growth but deeper roots than cereal rye • much less winter hardy than cereal rye • can be difficult to kill • can be a serious weed in small grains
Not all effects are positive
Host pests Tie up N ? ? Become a weed Interfere w/ equipment performanceSuppress crop growth Cover Crops Dry out soil Prevent excessively soil drying Add cost Increase management Adapted from Magdoff and Weil (2004)
Reduce Risk • Enroll in
programs that pay you to plant CCs • Use time tested CC methods • Use more than one method of planting CCs • Plant mixtures/cocktails• Grow some crops e.g. small grains, vegetables, corn silage, shorter season hybrids/varieties that are harvested early • Plan residual herbicide programs carefully • Scout for insect pests that are attracted to residue • Irrigate
IA and IL Aerial Applicator
Survey (May-June 2010)Name Location Experience w/CC Cost no exp., no customerCady Aerial Spray Rock Falls, IL interest $8.00/a norm app $8.50/a ccBenoit AerialSpraying Kankakee, IL turnips and rye $8.00/a norm app $10.00/a ccFranks FlyingService Morrison, IL ryegrass and c. rye $8.00/a norm app $10.00/a ccReeds Fly-on yes, c. rye, small partFarming Mattoon, IL of business $8.00/a norm app $12.00/a ccKilliam Flying rye, wheat on beans, $8.00/a norm app $10.00/acService Carlinville, IL rye on corn or 10/lbCurless FlyingService Astoria, IL ryegrass and turnips $8-15.00/a all app.Klein Flying St. Francisville, ~$12.50/a cc,Service IL annual rye and turnips $9.00/a liquid appAgriflite Services Wakarusa, IN rye, wheat, ryegrass ave $15.00/a for cc app.Als Aerial $10-15.00/a ccSpraying Ovid, MI rye and wheat $10.00/a liquid
A Wheat-Corn-Bean rotation with "tillage"
done via RADISHES (!!) into the wheat stubble every third year! All done with a single 60 ft 30" planter, RTK and one 60ft toolbar. Fertilizerefficiency is very good with banding, split application and no fall 8625 losses. views!! I came away from there thinking I have seen the future of production agriculture, at least in some areas. Sorry to go on so long but this was a very interesting day. The field of tillage radishes was incredible. The size of thosethings does really seem to break up the soil at least as deep as many tillage tools.
Ralph “Junior” Upton Springerton, Illinois
1,800 acres of no-till corn, beans and wheat & annual ryegrass, cereal rye and hairy vetch cover crops Problem Addressed Difficult soil characteristics. Ralph “Junior” Upton farms poorly drained land characterized by an impenetrable layer, or “plow pan,” six to eight inches deep that crop roots typically can’t grow through.One day, in the mid-1980s, Upton got a magnified view of his soil’s limitations.While tearing out a fence, Upton noticed plenty of moisture in the soil aboutthree feet down. Above it sat a compacted layer of soil through which no rootswere growing. Upton had a visible confirmation of why, during dry years, theshallow-rooted crops dried up even though there was plenty of water stored inthe soil below. “I began looking for a way to break up that plow pan so my crops could get to the moisture they needed”
Soybean health experiment – 6
locations across IL November 2010 Mustard Rapeseed incorporated Canola pre-plant Cereal rye Cereal rye no-till Soybeans no-till drilled into cereal rye were the top yielder in 2011