Cover Crop Innovators Video Series
These short videos of innovative farmers describing their experiences with cover crops were produced for the National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health, held Feb. 17-19, 2014 in Omaha, Neb.
Larry Thompson has been planting cover crops on his organic vegetable farm since the 1960s to improve the soil, manage nutrients, control erosion and provide habitat to beneficial insects.
In addition to no-tilling 2,500 acres of irrigated and dryland corn, soybeans, rye, triticale, peas, sunflowers and buckwheat in south central Nebraska, Keith Berns and his brother, Brian, own and operate Green Cover Seed, a leading supplier of cover crop seeds.
David Brandt farms 1,150 acres of corn, soybeans and wheat in Carroll, Ohio, and began using no-till in 1971 and cover crops in 1978.
Gabe Brown is one of the pioneers of the current soil health movement. He operates a 5,000-acre farm in Bismarck, N.D., that holistically integrates diverse crop rotations, no-till, cover crops and livestock.
John Burk farms 2,500 acres of corn, soybeans, sugar beets and wheat in Bay City, Mich., and uses a variety of cover crops for diverse benefits, including red clover, oilseed radish, oats and rye.
Dan DeSutter farms 4,500 acres in west central Indiana, using no-till, cover crops and manure to improve soil quality while maintaining high levels of crop production.
Ray Gaesser, a soybean producer from Corning, Iowa, who uses cover crops and no-till, is president of the American Soybean Association.
Steve Groff farms 225 acres of cash grain crops and 25 acres of pumpkins in Lancaster County, Penn. Cover crops are used purposefully and some fields have not been tilled for over 35 years.
Henry Miller uses strip-till and has developed a rotation of soybeans, wheat, snap beans and seed corn as well as numerous cover crops on his 1,800 acre farm in Centreville, Mich.
Mitchell farms 3,000 acres of corn and soybeans near Waterloo, Iowa, and is a leader in the use of automation in farming operations and has pioneered quality testing of field operations.
Jamie Scott, of Pierceton, Ind., farms 2,000 acres as part of a family operation. All tillable acres are no-tilled or strip tilled and have had cover crops planted for the past seven years.
Cover crops improve organic matter in the sandy soils of Sauvie Island Organics, says Farm Manager Scott Latham. They provide a host of other benefits for the diversified 24-acre farm, including the need to irrigate less and better nutrient management.
David Brown experimented with many cover crops before settling on annual ryegrass for his 80-acre organic farm, Mustard Seed Farms. He found it to be the easiest cover crop to manage, especially when terminating it and incorporating it into the soil in the spring, which is typically cool and wet in his region.