Farmers share their soil health practices at MU event

L – R: Francis Thicke, Joshua Payne, Debbie Corse

Some Midwestern farmers have shared their soil health practices at the University of Missouri Agroforestry Symposium.

Joshua Payne, a former English teacher farms with his 93 year old grandfather in Concordia, Missouri, “We have corn, rye. We’ve reduced our chemicals into soybeans. So we have corn, soy. We’ve flipped that around and do soy because I like to make money and wheat doesn’t make much money. And then we follow that up and we plant wheat. We follow wheat with a big biodiverse cover crop mix which we then graze sometimes, depending on where we are. And then we flip that whole cycle.”

Francis Thicke, a Minnesota native and southeast Iowa organic crop and dairy farmer, started his farm in 1996 – and has created 60 paddocks for grazing, “And, I like to let the grass grow a little taller, if I can, so I get deeper roots and get more mass growing in the soil – more carbon in the soil. Now, in the cropping system, what I’ve been doing more recently is using a rolldown cover crop. Planting a cover crop like rye, rolling that down in the spring, and then planting a crop like soybeans into it.”

Debbie Corse, has a row crop farm in southeast Missouri that went to no-till in 1991. Her son grows 100% cover crops while she and her husband have turned a crop farm into a cattle grazing operation,  “With the help of all the government agencies, we have fenced out all our creeks and we have planted 14,000 trees for the Riparian barriers and we’ve seen a large improvement in our pastureland.”

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