Our featured farmer is
who farms 2,000 acres of corn and soybeans and heads Wickman Chemical near Atlantic, IA. Erich has been planting cover crops for five years and has recently started seeding his rye cover crop by mixing seed into his dry fertilizer mix. This year he’ll plant 1,000 acres to cover crops!
Speeding up seeding:
Erich says, “I planted cover crops with aerial application at first, then I bought a drill and felt like it was too slow so could only do erosion concern areas. Last year we started spreading the dry fertilizer with the rye and turbo tilling it behind the combine.”
The air-rig holds 37 bushels of rye and blows the seed to the back of the tillage implement. Erich says they can seed about 200 acres each day with the new set-up.
Quicker seeding means greater benefits:
With the speed at which Erich can seed, and by seeding immediately following the combine, the cover crops accumulate more biomass, which Erich says translates to greater weed control on his fields. The quick seeding method also means that they get to plant more acres to cover crops and reap the soil conservation benefits on more acres.
Cover crops as a part of a conservation ethic:
Erich’s conservation ethic is marked. He says, “My number one commitment to my farms is building soil and conserving it.”