Hi All! It has been too long since I have posted. We have been busy, and have some exciting new plans. CCSP has long been promoting conservation farming practices by demonstrating cropping rotations, cover crops, and different equipment. One thing we have always lacked is the inclusion of livestock. We are looking at the possibility and hope to have a new program in place in 2017. We will do this in one of our member counties, Dickey just 25 miles to the west of Forman. We still plan on keeping a small number of plots at the Forman site. I feel the use of cover crops is an important addition to a farm. To really make it pay off, livestock are an excellent choice. Soil health benefits and erosion control are obviously needed, but the payoffs can take time. Using livestock can bring immediate income in to your farm. Besides the cash income, whether it is renting out your ground for grazing, or using your own animals, you are removing very few nutrients from the soil, but cycling them and adding biology. I know, the biology at this point is a little hard to define, but remember how our soils were developed in terms of a prairie, many animals grazing adding manure, urine, and even their bones. I always look at soybeans, and am surprised how little credit we give the rhizobia bacteria. They are responsible for a large part of the yield. Haying is a good option, but you can’t beat the cow getting the food for itself and spreading its own manure!
Last year was a wonderful growing season at CCSP. Since we went mostly to larger plots, we do not have the amount of data to share as usual. Although the wheat did not do as well as I was hoping, 60 bushel yields were nice. The soybean and corn yields were really nice. Our soybeans ran around 60. The corn was at 200, give or take a few bushels where we checked. Jasper Teboh, a researcher out of the Carrington Research Extension Center had a corn trial looking at nitrogen and sulfur. The high yield in that replicated study was 275 bushel on the high nitrogen and sulfur treatment. His trial will be published shortly I am sure, and I will place a link to it here. It just shows we had a very good growing season! I heard the same things from farmers watching their yield monitors. Yield averages were great, some spots in the field unbelievable! If anybody thinks we are not telling the truth, just look at the piles of corn at the elevators. Unfortunately, many of those piles are not keeping well, thanks to the late warm weather and heavy rain events.
I look forward to putting the new CCSP project together and hope to get some good information.
CCSP Farm Manager