Kinnard Farms hosted Peninsula Pride Farms’ Conservation Conversation on Oct. 26. A group of 15 farmers and community members gathered in two of Lee Kinnard’s contour buffer strips to see firsthand how the farm is practicing regenerative agriculture.
The field where the event took place has been in a no-till practice for the past six years. It is strategically split up into 90-foot strips. Once the corn was harvested, Kinnard made the decision to leave some residue behind and plant winter rye and oats as a cover crop for the winter.
“The closer you can keep it to nature, the better,” Kinnard said. The winter rye will not be harvested in hopes it will help increase the soil biomass. In another contour strip they keep alfalfa in the rotation. The idea is to continue building soil to improve the shallow depth to bedrock and slowly rebuild organic matter.
By leaving the residue and allowing the soil to regenerate, Kinnard estimates he has 3-4 tons of dry matter per year as new soil. The goal is to increase organic matter up to 2.5 percent -2.9 percent. The alfalfa crop also provides 120-160 pounds of free nitrogen which helps the corn crop.
Kinnard Farms continues to try new conservation practices to improve soil health, create new soil, and protect water resources.