In the current agricultural climate of low commodity prices and increased fertilizer costs, we keep hearing about nutrient use efficiency (NUE) as a key component of farming success. NUE is commonly defined as the yield per unit of input. But why is it important? To illustrate this, let’s use the analogy of two pick-up trucks. NUE is the difference between one truck getting 20 MPG compared to a different truck of the same make and model getting 35 MPG by using a higher-quality fuel source.
Is fall the best time to take soil samples? Many growers take soil samples in the fall after their crops are off. It’s a good time to sample for several reasons. In fall, it’s convenient to drive the fields and pull samples when there isn’t anything growing to get in the way, and soils tend to be drier. Fall also tends to be less busy than spring, giving more time for sampling. Knowing your soil nutrient levels in fall gives you time to put on a …
The most important question you need to ask yourself if you are interested in planting alfalfa this fall is the following: What do I want to obtain from this alfalfa? Answering that question leads us to these case scenarios:
Seeding alfalfa as a forage crop in new fields
The most important decision when establishing a new alfalfa field is variety selection. A good variety not only guarantees better yield and forage quality but it also helps with crop establishment and crop management.
When Gary Zimmer was first looking for a calcium-based product to improve his soil quality, he discovered Bio-Cal®. He noticed remarkable improvements to his soil quality, as well as forage yield and quality, soon after the first application to his hay fields. Bio-Cal is now known for its proven benefits for yield and quality on forages and is also an excellent soil conditioner that improves water infiltration and soil structure – benefits that any crop can take advantage of!
Depending on where and when tillage is applied, it can both help and hinder soil structure and soil biology. Tillage systems are not one-size-fits-all, so it’s important to have a specific goal in mind before tilling in the fall or spring.
Illinois-based sales consultant and Certified Crop Adviser Ben Adolph offers the following advice when selecting tillage strategies for your farm.
How can tillage impact soil structure and life?
Adolph: Over tilling can damage soil structure, which decreases pore size …
Midwestern BioAg President Gary Zimmer has planted cover crops on his farm for years. In this Q&A, we sit down with him to learn the basics of cover crop management and the resulting benefits they bring to the farm.
How do I select a cover crop for my farm?
Zimmer: First, identify the purpose for your cover crop. Will it provide nitrogen or scavenge it? Do you want to use it for grazing? How about to build organic matter?
Phil Schwantz is a third-generation farmer who’s proud to be the steward of his grandfathers’ farmland. He lives on the farmstead where his paternal grandfather and father farmed and rents land from his aunt that was once farmed by his maternal grandfather.
He also feels fortunate to be working with Midwestern BioAg on a program that has created “an explosion” of earthworms on his 500 acres of tillable farmland. A leading indicator of soil health, earthworm activity can increase soil infiltration and improve water-holding capacity, help …
A New Jersey native — with no farmers in his family tree — is now a successful beef breeder and cash cropper in Minnesota’s Winona County, southeast of Minneapolis. Tom Scarponcini came to his beautiful Rushford-area farm by way of Maine, where he started a small enterprise pasturing 16 head of cattle and learning about rotational grazing. “I wanted to be a farmer, but I have no idea where that came from,” he says.
After getting a taste of farming in Maine, Scarponcini wanted to expand …
The Hunger Task Force works to end hunger in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, metro area. Their farm, located just southwest of the city, serves over 40,000 people in need each month. The farm produces over 800,000 pounds of fresh produce each year, cultivating nearly 30 varieties of fruits and vegetables.
Formed in the early 1980s, the Hunger Task Force’s mission is to provide food to people in need today, to achieve a hunger-free community tomorrow. Some 75 percent of their produce recipients are a particularly vulnerable population: …
Dear Farmer/Agribusiness person,
Field Day at Otter Creek is coming soon and what do we have to show you this year? In the past year, many changes have been made to our 1,000-acre operation — we have a lot that’s new in 2015.
The dairy herd grew too large for our facility, so we sold half of our cows early this year. My daughter Sadie bought the remaining herd and manages them here on the farm.