Tanner and David talk with Loran Steinlage about the experience he has with cover crops and relay crops. Loran's unique approach to maximizing his profits per acre are interesting to think about. He'll never force his techniques on anyone, but challenges every farmer our there to always be learning and evolving.
What’s Working In Ag
Introduce Guest-------Loran Steinlage @FLOLOFarmers
It’s that time of year, if you haven’t been incorporating covers on your farm you are seeing the neighbors flying them on,
inter-seeding, and getting their deliveries and so on. So, we wanted to talk with an expert today to try and answer some of
the question you might have.
Start with Definition: Cover Crops: Various crops grown between the harvest of row crops, like corn or
soybeans and planting of the following year’s row crop to cover the soil, reduce nitrogen loss through plant
uptake and phosphorus loss through reduced erosion.
Why do you think cover crops aren’t the unanimously decided practice for every farm?
When considering implementing cover crops on my farm what are some of the challenges I may face?
Is this something I need to plan ahead for? How much planning goes in to a successfully managed cover crop
o When putting a plan together, what are somethings I would need to consider? Goals of that cover crop….
Now sell me on it, what are the benefits of implementing cover crops?
So we know what the challenges are I may face and you just shared the benefits, what about putting dollars and cents
to the project? Is there a positive ROI to using cover crops? Can you provide an example?
Farmers will be able to easily calculate return on investment for cover crops with a new online tool.
It will help farmers decide whether or not cover crops work for their operation.
Iowa State University’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SARE)
The tool shows farmers’ estimated annual net returns of cover crops under a variety of scenarios.
The tool was created in Iowa but can be used in any U.S. state.
o “Since the tool allows the user to create his or her own scenario using their own data it can
be used by any farmer in the U.S. to evaluate the net returns to cover crops in a corn-
soybean rotation,” he says.
Select state, then region, then cash crop, then custom or not applied, burn down or not, expected
crop price. – hit submit – spits out a chart to customize
As a farmer working with cover crops, do I have to foot the entire bill to the programs? Are there ways to help with
the upfront costs?
Ok, so now you’ve sold me on starting. How do I know what to choose, where to start, etc….?
o Resources available?
o Cover Crop Decision Tree
Anything else you think the listener should hear?
What do you have to say to the person who thinks “this will never work”?
We ask every guest, what do you believe or have observed is the greatest characteristic or trait of the most successful
farmers you know?
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