Cover crops, promising drought aid to soil health for farmers

Helping farmers weather drought and severe storms like the ones we’ve seen this year, says Paul Jasa, an extension engineer at the University of Nebraska. He thinks focusing on soil health can pay off even in bad years. It is our warehouse to store water and nutrients. Again, in industry, you don’t let the warehouse go down. You pay as much attention to it as the production,” Jasa said. While many non-irrigated corn and bean fields are shrunken and baked nearby, Jasa’s crops stand out. Jasa has spent four decades growing from the ground up. “It’s loose ground. Even though we’re this dry, I can dig with my fingers,” Jasa said. It’s a soil that sucks up rain where it falls, so there’s less runoff, retains moisture, and needs fewer fertilizers or herbicides. “The first year or the first two people could have laughed at me. Today they come here to learn,” Jasa said. On Tuesday, Jasa held a field demonstration in the University of Nebraska fields near Eagle. Growers came to see how Jasa uses crop rotation, direct seeding and a variety of cover crops. Some of the cover crops build up nutrients and suppress weeds, while others even break up the soil. “Growing something there improves the soil, makes the soil stronger so I can withstand a drought better next time. It gives me better nutrient exchange next time,” Jasa said. Wes Andersen came to the demonstration. – until 40 years ago,” Andersen said. He farms near Blair and said soil health is linked to his results. to sap some of the moisture needed later. But you also have to look at it like there’s something about the sun not hitting bare earth. If it hits the crop, it won’t be as hot as the dirt temperature, and that will save moisture,” Andersen said. Jasa said it’s a long term investment. the tough years,” Jasa said. “I want is the resilient soil system that allows water to seep in rather than flow out, that can store water for me to grow the crop.” About 30 eastern Nebraska growers participate in the cover crop program. It is funded by the Nebraska State Department of Environment and Energy and the University of Nebraska Extension. They will look at the time and labor required to manage crops and monitor growth rates, nutrients and soil moisture.

Helping farmers weather drought and severe storms like the ones we’ve seen this year can lie underground, says Paul Jasa, an extension engineer at the University of Nebraska.

He thinks focusing on soil health can pay off even in bad years.

“The soil is our factory. It’s our warehouse to store water and nutrients. Again, in industry, you don’t let the warehouse break down. You pay as much attention to it as the production,” Jasa said.

While many non-irrigated corn and bean fields are shrunken and baked nearby, Jasa’s crops stand out.

“I actually beat irrigators without the cost of irrigation because I have this healthier soil system,” Jasa said.

It’s a system that Jasa has spent four decades developing from the ground up.

“It’s loose ground. Even though we’re so dry, I can dig with my fingers,” Jasa said.

It’s soil that sucks up rain where it falls, reducing runoff, retaining moisture, and requiring fewer fertilizers or herbicides.

“The first year or two people might have laughed at me. Now they come here to learn,” Jasa said.

On Tuesday, Jasa held a field demonstration in the University of Nebraska fields near Eagle.

Growers came to learn how Jasa uses crop rotation, no-till and a variety of cover crops.

Some of the cover crops build up nutrients and suppress weeds, while others even break up the soil.

“Growing something there improves the soil, makes it stronger, so I can withstand a drought better next time. It gives me better nutrient exchange next time,” Jasa said.

Wes Andersen came to the demonstration.

“I started direct seeding 40 years ago,” Andersen said.

He farms near Blair and said soil health is linked to his results.

He said adding cover crops could also have some benefits.

“You put a crop there that you’re going to sap some of the moisture needed later. But you also have to look at it as if there’s something not to have the sun on the bare earth. If it hits the crop, it won’t be as hot as the dirt temperature, and it will save moisture,” Andersen said.

Jasa says it’s a long term investment.

“When it comes to healthier soil, there are a lot more people looking at that. I think it’s more about resilience than the ability to survive tough years,” Jasa said. “I want is the resilient soil system that lets water infiltrate rather than runoff, that can store water for me to grow the crop.”

About 30 growers in eastern Nebraska participate in the cover crop program.

It is funded by the Nebraska State Department of Environment and Energy and the University of Nebraska Extension.

They will look at the time and labor required to manage crops and monitor growth rates, nutrients and soil moisture.

Luz W. German