Rice County Cover Crops and No-till Field Day Aug. 24

FARIBAULT, Minn. — Cover crops, no-till and soil health will be the focus of a field tour co-sponsored by the Land Stewardship Project (LSP) and the Rice County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) on Friday, Aug. 24, from 9:30 a.m. to noon. The tour starts at Mike Ludwig's farm (1355 90th St. E., Northfield) with a stop at John Becker's fields in Dundas, and ends at Tim Little's farm (11811 Canby Ave., Faribault). Ludwig, Becker and Little will speak about their experiences with no-till, fall aerial cover crop seeding, weed suppression, cover crop mixes and erosion control, as well as provide an overview of the economics of no-till and cover crops on their farms. Registration begins at 9:15 a.m., rain or shine, and a picnic lunch will follow the event (free-will donations accepted). RSVP to LSP’s Alex Romano at 507-523-3366 or aromano@landstewardshipproject.org, or to Rice SWCD at 507-332-5408.

Directions to the Ludwig Farm: Take Exit 69 from I-35 on to MN-19 East. Take the first right (south) on Rice County 59 for about 2 miles. Look for signs.

Ludwig, Becker and Little are part of a local farmer networking group that started aerially seeding cover crop mixes into standing corn in September 2015. The farmers will compare and contrast the results of last fall’s seedings on their three different farms.

Little was recently named a Soil Health Champion by the National Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts. During an interview earlier this spring with KDHL Radio host Jerry Groskreutz, Little explained the benefits he’s observed from using cover crops: “Number one is erosion. That’s why I started using no-till and cover crops. Managing moisture and building the water holding capacity has been key and helped us get in early during a wet spring. We also saw a yield increase from the nitrogen release of the decaying rye. We have less compaction and no swell in the bean field. We have less soil splash, reducing our issues with white mold. We saw quite an improvement in weed suppression. We saved $26-$27 an acre with no fall tillage—no rippers in the fall and no diggers in the spring. That alone will pay for your cover crops.”