When It Comes to Improving Soil Health on Your Farm, Set Your Sights on the Long-Term GoalsFri, 10 Mar 2017 15:41:45 CST
At the recent annual meeting of the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts, North Carolina farmer and soil health expert, Russell Hedrick, shared with local producers the strategies he has implemented on his operation using cover crops to improve the health of his soil - and how to make money doing it. Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays had the chance to talk with Hedrick about how farmers can successfully implement systems like this on their own operations. Click or tap the LISTEN BAR at the bottom of this story to listen to Hays’ interview with Hedrick about his cover crop systems and the benefits he’s reaped using them.
“One of the things producers do is they only look at one aspect of soil health,” he said. “They’ve got to look at all the different avenues that they’re saving money.”
Hedrick says he likes to preach to farmers that they need to be farming for profits, not for yields. With no-till systems, Hedricks says you will sometimes get high end yields, but by steadily reducing the amount of inputs into your crops, you will more consistently add to your bottom line.
However, he points out that the benefits of practicing no-till and having a cover crop system in place are not going to be seen immediately. He insists you have to invest money to make money.
“If guys are willing to take that time and that effort to try to implement these practices and truly give them a good feel,” Hedricks said, “… I have never seen anybody that uses this system for two or three years, has ever went back to the old way of doing things and that’s the key - we have to change people’s minds.”
His advice to farmers trying a system like this out for the first time is - they have to be committed and set their sights on the long-term, understanding that you will not see the results reach their full potential until five or even ten years down the road.
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