2020 has been a year that has tested everything we have known about farming in Iowa. If you were not hit by drought, you were hit by a derecho. It has made Iowa a proving ground for technology, traits, and practices. This includes the 4R Plus practices.
Doug Carter farms in eastern Audubon county. He tells about some of the concerns he has with the rolling ground in his area. Controlling erosion is a big concern.
When you have concerns about erosion, those concerns become even more top of mind when you face a drought. Carter plants primarily cereal rye in his cover crop program and he says he is still waiting to see how the crops faired in those fields. He has a gut feeling that they did do better. However, he also remarked about the variability in the soil types this year. Something he does not remember being so pronounced in the past.
Carter says he has plans to increase the acreage is putting into cover crops. He admits that when he started a few years back, he was skeptical. Carter says that if farmers want to see if there is a benefit for their farm, start small and give it some time. You cannot learn enough in just one year.
Doug Carter says his crops are yielding better than he would have expected in a year as we had. He said that he hopes we can see the subsoil moisture levels increase in a timely manner.
Carter also said that the conditions that have made harvest go smoothly are also lending themselves to quick seeding of his cover crop acres.
You can learn more about the 4R Plus practices on their website.