NCGA ON TOUR TO SUPPORT SOIL HEALTH

JULY 2013

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Conservation in Action Tour this week of the Indian Creek Watershed in Livingston County, Illinois. Area producers and regional experts in the fields of soil health, nutrient management and drainage water management shared success stories with participants from more …">

(Posted Fri. Jul 12th, 2013)

July 12: The Conservation Technology Information Center completed another successful Conservation in Action Tour this week of the Indian Creek Watershed in Livingston County, Illinois. Area producers and regional experts in the fields of soil health, nutrient management and drainage water management shared success stories with participants from more than 20 states in an event co-sponsored by the National Corn Growers Association.

 

“Although NCGA has been a part of CTIC since its beginning over thirty years ago, this was the first time we’ve participated as a sponsor of the action tour,” said Dan Cole, NCGA Production and Stewardship Action Team member. “When CTIC approached us with the opportunity to sponsor the tour’s stop highlighting soil health, we enthusiastically jumped on board. Farmers know how important soil health is to the preservation of our natural resources, the sustainability of our agricultural industry and the business of farming.”

 

Terry and Judy Bachtold hosted the soil health stop at their farm, Grazin’ Acres. The Bachtolds operate a beef program that employs conservation practices to produce the nutritious forages that are crucial to herd health. Tour participants heard about using cover crops and no-till cropping systems, saw an aerial planting, and got a glimpse of what a soil pit reveals about the health of a field below ground.

 

 At the Kilgus Farmstead, presentations and demonstrations were given on the N-Watch program, manure management and nutrient management efficiency studies within CTIC’s Indian Creek Watershed Project. Denise Keehner, director of the Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency discussed the importance of partnerships and on-the-ground leadership in watersheds where nutrient pollution impacts watersheds.

 

The final tour stop was hosted by the Jack Trainor family. The Trainors farm more than 3,000 acres using no-till on the majority of their land in a corn-soybean rotation and employ winter cover crops on their more erodible soils in a winter wheat-soybean rotation. Because their farm is directly adjacent to the Vermilion River, the Trainors have installed a drainage control structure which has expanded their drainage management system allowing for more control over when and how much water is held in the water table below the field. Tour participants learned how holding back water during the growing season can increase or protect crop yields while helping improve water quality.   

 

Photo courtesy of Chuck Zimmerman.