Illinois farmer increasing cover crop acres this fall

Brownfield’s Rhiannon Branch interviews Doug Winter during Trade Talk at the 2022 National Association of Farm Broadcasting Convention in Kansas City.

A southeast Illinois farmer is planting more cover crops this fall to farm more sustainably with less inputs.

Doug Winter of Mill Shoals in White County tells Brownfield they’re transitioning their 3500-acre corn, soybean and wheat operation to 75% no-till, with rye grass and rapeseed planted for cover on 600 acres. He says that should reduce their need for pricey fertilizers.  

“It also eliminates a late fall herbicide application and possibly an early spring herbicide application, past just having to do a burn down on the cover crop.”

He says the cover crops will also improve soil health and better prepare the land for drought.

“We have more drought prone soils and we are thinking that cover and mulch on top of the ground that the cover crop provides will help with moisture retention throughout the growing season.”

Winter says they did not plant any winter wheat this year because yields weren’t great the past two seasons, and he will be busy during the June harvest serving as chairman for the US Soybean Export Council.

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