Farming Practices

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podcast
Optimizing Nutrient Cycling for Nutrient Dense Crops

Nutrient cycling has a profound impact on nutrient content in crops at harvest. What can farmers do to grow the most nutrient-dense crops?

podcast
Harnessing Farm Data: Practical Strategies for Optimizing Efficiency

Agricultural data expert Ben Craker shares invaluable insights on the importance of efficient farm data management, offering practical strategies to optimize agricultural operations and enhance overall farm success.

article
Are Cover Crops a Good Alternative Feed Source for Dairy Cattle?

Thinking of cover crops as an "annual forage" could help dairy farmers cycle them into their feed rotation.

article
Can Cover Crops & No-Till Reduce Dairy Greenhouse Gas Emissions?

Reducing dairy greenhouse gas emissions is a whole-farm task. Cover crops and no-till are just one part of the solution.

article
How Does Applied Manure Impact Soil Microbes & Soil Carbon Sequestration on Cropland & Pasture?

Animal manure can boost microbial activity in the soil. It's a good way to add nutrients, improve crop growth, and promote healthy soils when used correctly. Check out this article for resources!

video
No Till, No Problem: Farmers Share Benefits of Adopting Soil Health Practices

Changing farm management to use soil health practices like cover crops and no-till can be complicated. But these on-farm changes show some clear benefits for preventing erosion and improving soil for generations to come.

article
Can Dual-Use Cover Crops & No-Till Make Dairy Farming More Sustainable?

Cover crops can be useful tools to capture excess nutrients. So what happens on a no-till dairy farm when cover crops are left on the field?

video
Improving Dairy Water Quality

Improving water quality on the dairy farm is all about keeping nutrients in the right place. Whether it's manure or fertilizer for crops, implementing cover crops, grassed waterways, and retention ponds can help. Check it out.

article
How Do You Manage Dairy Manure Storage to Reduce Methane Emissions?

Methane--a potent, short-lived greenhouse gas--is the major emission from dairy production, but manure management can help decrease the amount of methane from the farm. Dig deeper to find out how.

podcast
Virtual Fence for Cattle Herd Management: Learning Curves & Opportunities

Virtual fence can create invisible, movable boundaries to help manage cattle herds. It's a new technology, and the possibilities are exciting. But there are a few learning curves--listen in as a producer and researcher talk about the benefits and hurdles of using virtual fence.

article
What Are the Benefits of Biological Soil Testing?

Biological soil testing--also called soil health assessment--is a great way to understand the whole soil ecosystem. Dig into the potential benefits of biological soil testing, including improved yield, reduced farm costs, and more!

podcast
Measuring Soil Water Potential to Maximize Farm Water Use

Deciding when to irrigate can feel like half art, half science. But measuring soil water potential can help make even better use of limited water by showing you how much water is actually available to plants.

article
Manure as Fertilizer: Can I Decrease Applied Manure’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions?

Learn about the different manure application techniques that can help you cut emissions while making the most of this abundant source of nutrients.

article
Can Remote Sensors Measure Soil Carbon?

Not directly--you're still going to need field samples. But there are some ways that remote sensing can help with monitoring. Read on to find out how.

article
How Do I Conserve Groundwater While Irrigating?

Groundwater is a limited resource in many areas, and irrigation is key to grow a healthy crop. Here are five tips to make the most of limited water.

article
How Do Remote Sensors Work?

Remote sensing is a promising way to track all sorts of agricultural data. It's a useful tool for estimating yield, mapping boundaries, understanding soil types and properties, and giving early plant stress warnings. But how does it work?

article
What Do Microbes Do in the Soil?

Soil microbes decompose plant matter, help aggregate soil particles, cycle nutrients, and much more. Discover the seven functions of soil microbes: read on.

article
What Can Remote Sensing Tell You About Your Field?

Soil moisture, crop stress, nutrient deficiencies--you've got options! Check out all the different things you can learn about your field through remote sensing.

article
Could Worms Help Cut Emissions from Dairy Waste?

Dairies produce 1.5% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the US, and manure ponds are a big part of it. Could running liquid dairy waste through worm beds help cut dairy emissions?

podcast
Improving On-Farm Return on Investment with Soil Biology

There are three pillars of agriculture: Soil chemistry, soil physics, and soil biology. New techniques for measuring soil biology are popping up, but what can they actually tell you? And will they give you a better bang for your buck on the farm?

podcast
Corn Stalks and Clover: Connecting Crop Residue and Soil Health

Crop residue is no waste--listen and learn how to use crop residue to feed soil microbes and add soil nutrients.

article
Can Growing Cover Crops in Corn Systems Increase Soil Carbon?

If every hectare of land across the globe included cover crops, we could sequester up to 192 million US tons of carbon every year. How can we get there?

podcast
Precision Nutrient Management: Boost Efficiency, Cut Input Costs

Precision nutrient management is all about “spoon-feeding” your crops just the right amount and kind of nutrients, just when they need them. Doing so can boost the efficiency of your inputs and improve your on-farm return on investment.

article
How Does Compaction Impact Water Availability for Plants?

Soil compaction is the result of soil particles being squished closer together, reducing pore space and making it tougher for roots to grow and water to flow. Dig deeper into how compaction impacts water available for plant growth, and what you can do to prevent or fix it on your fields.

article
How Do You Measure Soil Water?

Understanding how water moves through your fields can give you great insights into how plants might fare during times of excess rainfall, drought, and everything in between. Read on and find out how to measure your field's soil water.

article
Cover Crop Benefits and Drawbacks When Water is Scarce

Growing cover crops can be a challenge in environments where growing seasons are shorter or water is less plentiful. But growers are seeing ecosystem service benefits using cover crops, and with some management changes, minimal drawbacks.

podcast
How Does Soil Health Impact Water Quality?

Soil is the medium for plant growth, regulates chemical processes, and filters water. So how does soil health impact water quality?

podcast
Too Much of a Good Thing? Nutrients & Water Quality

Nutrients are essential for us to grow food, feed, fuel, and fiber. But what happens when there's too much of a good thing? 

article
How Does Reducing Tillage and Adding Cover Crops Impact Farm Income?

Changing practices might come with some changing expenses, but how do these practices impact farm income in the long term?

article
Can You Adopt Conservation Practices and Still Make a Profit?

Adopting cover crops and reduced or no-till can come with new expenses. But how do the on-farm economics really pan out?

article
What Are the Drivers of Soil Organic Carbon Storage?

After adding additional plant matter to the soil, the biggest driver of storing soil organic carbon is the activity of microorganisms like bacteria and fungi, followed by soil texture.

article
How Can Cover Crops Help Sequester Soil Carbon?

Cover crops provide an additional source of biomass to the soil. More biomass means more opportunities to sequester carbon!

article
Which Agricultural Practices Sequester Carbon at the Lowest Cost?

Implementing cover crops and moving to no-till can make the greatest impact at the lowest cost, although the amount of carbon sequestered or emissions reduced and cost of each practice varies by region.

video
The Soil Health Benefits of Cover Crops

Wayne Fredericks, a farmer in Osage, IA, adopted cover crops after many years of no-till soybean and strip-till corn. Watch as he talks through the impacts of cover crops on his farm's soil, and how cover crops and reduced tillage can be complementary practices.

video
Maximizing On-Farm Solar Energy Harvest with Cover Crops

Growing crops is all about making good use of solar energy. Though many farms only make use of the sun’s energy from about May through September, Wayne Fredericks maximizes his solar energy harvest with cover crops, improving his soil health in the process.

article
How Does Farm Management Impact Soil Health?

Healthy soils are teeming with life. Changing management practices to foster biological activity is the key to improving soil health.

article
How Much Farmland Is Eligible for Reduced Tillage or No-Till?

139 million acres of farmland in the US are still eligible to change crop production practices to reduce tillage, according to United States Department of Agriculture data from 2016.

video
Cover Cropping to Reduce Nutrient Loss

Wayne Fredericks, a farmer in Osage, IA, has been using cover crops on his farm since 2012. Here, he talks about his journey testing cover crops to help reduce nutrient loss and improve water quality.

video
Turning Cover into Cash

One barrier keeping farmers from adopting cover crops is the cost. But Mitchell and Brian Hora have turned their cover crop into an additional cash crop by harvesting mature standing rye over a growing soybean crop.

article
How Does Changing Nitrogen Management Impact Farm Greenhouse Gas Emissions?

Making small tweaks to on-farm nitrogen use can make a big difference in greenhouse gas emissions, water quality, and crop production.