Cover crops plant the seeds to soil health

Peninsula Pride Farms held its first conservation conversation of the season on April 25. PPF member Duane Ducat and son Derek Ducat with Deer Run Dairy LLC hosted the field event as the sun set on a chilly spring evening. The topics featured a cover crop field walk and viewing a John Deere 1775 no-till corn planter.

Area farmers and crop consultants gathered around the growing rye to learn about the benefits of cover crops. A soil sample showed the soil crumbled like cottage cheese and earthworms were busy at work.

Deer Run Dairy has practiced no-till on their farm for 10 years or more. Duane shared the benefits of cover crops providing the opportunity to take up moisture and protecting the soil from erosion during this wet spring.

“Let this (cover crop) grow so you have a little more protection,” Ducat said.

Ducat’s no-tilled winter rye into a corn field and applied manure for nutrients last fall. The growing winter rye crop will suck some of the moisture up and provide nutrients in the soil for next year’s crop.

The evening ended with shop talk focused on a no-till corn planter. Off-season equipment improvements are vital to a successful growing season. Ducat’s shared with attendees that they might try strip-till and adjust their Nitrogen application timing next season as they continue to be innovative and progressive in their conservation practices.

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