Iowa farmer describes how no-till and cover crops help mitigate drought impact

A farmer in southeast Iowa believes cover crops and no-till practices help his crops weather drought conditions.

Mark Jackson of Mahaska County says the subsoil moisture profile was full going into the spring, but rains were few and far between during the growing season.

“There was a definite impact on the plants, but my history and records have shown my no-till (combined with) cover crops actually enhances our plant growth and survivability if you will, allowing it to root down and follow that moisture as the water table drops.”

Jackson has experimented with and without a rye cover crop.

“No-till fields that had rye cover crops were running about five to six percent better in yield across the board.”

He says it’s good to be able to function without tillage when enduring tough times like this summer’s drought.

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