We hear about cover crops, no-till, and other conservation practices quite a bit these days. They are the terms that are generating the most buzz in agriculture. However, these are not new words to our vocabulary. Conservation farming methods that may seem new to some of us, would have been taken in a matter of course generations ago. It’s just the fact that we are finding ways to merge the older practices with the production numbers we see in more conventional methods. One Iowa family has been part of this evolution for some time.
Liz Pierce and her family farm in southern Boone County. They raise corn, soybeans, and some cattle. Liz says that she has been aware of conservation farming practices since she was young. Her husband Brett also grew up using different practices designed to maximize soil health.
Liz says that they decided to implement practices on their land a few years back. They enjoy being on the cutting edge of new ideas and practices. Liz says that these changes keep them interested in these practices.
Pierce talks about how they have been able to benefit from their small cattle herd on cover crops. It is giving them ample grazing opportunities while saving their pastures a little longer. This also helps the beginning of the growing season by having the cattle out in those fields.
Liz says currently they are using mainly rye for cover cropping. They have already begun the aerial seeding of the cover crops, and it is already beginning to take hold. Liz says it is exciting to see their fields as they drive towards home. She says the green really stands out from all the brown.
Liz encourages all farmers who are on the fence about cover crops to just give some of these practices a try. You will need to be patient to see the results. The land doesn’t just change overnight. She says if you stick with it, you will see results.
For more stories on conservation farming practices, log on to the 4R Plus website.
**Our full conversation with Liz Pierce will air on the September 18th edition of Weekend Ag Matters.**