2018 Nebraska Cover Crop Conference - Segment 2 - Dan Gillespie
There are many benefits to utilizing cover crops, such as improved soil heath and reduced erosion. It’s the details of how and what to do that can present challenges. The Nebraska Cover Crop Conference provides information to growers who are in a corn/soybean rotation and assist them in understanding the value of cover crops. This segment includes the following presentations: "Cover Crops for Ephemeral Gully Control" - Dan Gillespie, No-Till Specialist, NRCS.
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[00:00:09.170]I wanna thank all of you who were a part
[00:00:13.040]of sending in photographs of your cover crops
[00:00:16.840]that I requested, oh back in the winter,
[00:00:21.080]after the conference last year.
[00:00:23.380]I've been looping 'em, showing 'em here,
[00:00:25.970]prior to the start and will continue to do that, today.
[00:00:29.800]But, there are some very interesting photographs,
[00:00:32.660]and I want to thank you all for your efforts.
[00:00:35.300]I tried my best to file 'em and resurrect them
[00:00:39.930]to put 'em together in this loop PowerPoint presentation.
[00:00:43.540]But, we appreciate that very much and look forward
[00:00:47.950]to having you send us your cover crop photos in the future.
[00:00:52.070]I find them very intriguing and interesting,
[00:00:54.518]and again, we'll share 'em.
[00:00:56.270]We'll put 'em up on the website.
[00:00:58.140]The link is in your folder, there.
[00:01:00.550]Next, I want to introduce Gary Lesoing.
[00:01:02.560]Gary Lesoing's my counterpart down at Auburn.
[00:01:05.530]And, Gary manages the SARE program here in Nebraska
[00:01:08.820]for Nebraska Extension.
[00:01:10.990]And, we're gonna give a couple door prizes.
[00:01:15.310]Tell 'em, Gary, what the SARE program is.
[00:01:18.560]Well, the SARE program, if you,
[00:01:22.080]stands for Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension,
[00:01:25.780]or Education, I should say.
[00:01:27.960]They've been in existence for about 30 years.
[00:01:31.280]Initially, a lot of stuff with sustainable agriculture.
[00:01:34.730]They also have a farmer-rancher grant program.
[00:01:37.250]We've had several in Nebraska.
[00:01:39.740]Actually, Keith Berns, he covers seed.
[00:01:43.120]That's kinda what got him started in the program
[00:01:46.110]with cover crops.
[00:01:47.450]And, that's probably our biggest success.
[00:01:50.490]We had other people around here that got different types
[00:01:54.090]of SARE grants, farmer-rancher,
[00:01:56.280]and also doing the research-education grants.
[00:01:59.220]University of Nebraska has several.
[00:02:00.750]We have one cover crop going right now
[00:02:03.503]with Mary Drewnoski with grazing,
[00:02:06.250]and Humberto Blanco having several on farm sites.
[00:02:11.240]And, that's one thing; they really emphasize the farmer.
[00:02:15.010]They're havin' their 30th anniversary.
[00:02:17.440]They're havin' a conference down in St. Louis in April.
[00:02:20.520]A lot of people that received grants over the years
[00:02:22.460]will be giving presentations on the day they collect.
[00:02:26.620]But, one thing they produce is this, I think this is
[00:02:30.440]the third edition Managing Cover Crops Profitably.
[00:02:34.630]Sometimes, people call this the cover crop bible
[00:02:37.630]'cause it's really a very good reference.
[00:02:40.540]And, those little cover crop field days, field guides
[00:02:44.870]a lot of the information from that came from here.
[00:02:47.680]So, we're gonna give a few of these away at this time.
[00:02:51.650]Keith had a drawing, here.
[00:02:53.950]Roger Petersen from Fremont, Nebraska.
[00:02:56.500]I want a day off!
[00:03:00.600]There, he is; there's Roger.
[00:03:10.160]So, that's another reason for getting your blue form
[00:03:14.080]filled out, if you haven't done it, already.
[00:03:15.340]So, you get a chance to get a couple door prizes, here.
[00:03:20.740]Another one is Shane Kirchhoff, Avoca, Nebraska.
[00:03:29.200]Okay, we'll let Paul get started.
[00:03:31.310]I do wanna mention we're also gonna have
[00:03:34.280]a little different type of, what we call,
[00:03:36.500]Soil Health Conference on March 5th,
[00:03:39.000]down in Syracuse, Nebraska.
[00:03:41.200]Paul's gonna be on the program.
[00:03:44.720]We have a few flyers in the back of the room.
[00:03:47.500]People oughta pick them up, already.
[00:03:48.900]But, that's a excellent conference that we're having.
[00:03:52.853]A little different areas that we're gonna cover,
[00:03:54.930]but I have a grazing component.
[00:03:57.720]We're involved with that.
[00:04:05.440]I'm Paul Jasa, extension engineer
[00:04:07.030]with the university.
[00:04:07.863]I've been working with no-till for years.
[00:04:10.620]Years ago, then I met Dan.
[00:04:12.360]Dan Gillespie, here, is a NRCS no-till specialist.
[00:04:15.810]Well, he's actually had several titles across the years.
[00:04:19.390]In his NRCS role, he was the no-till specialist working
[00:04:21.760]on educational programs.
[00:04:23.330]And, we were blessed with a
[00:04:24.310]Nebraska Environmental Trust Fund grant
[00:04:26.040]where NRCS, Extension, and several other agencies
[00:04:28.910]work together for an educational program for nine years.
[00:04:32.040]Unfortunately, that grant ran out.
[00:04:35.420]NRCS and Extension is still quite heavily involved.
[00:04:38.260]But Dan, the title that's actually more important
[00:04:41.210]for you guys is he's actual producer as well,
[00:04:43.003]a no-till farmer.
[00:04:44.330]He's been doing this on his own farm.
[00:04:46.120]A lot of this he's gonna share is his experiences,
[00:04:48.320]perhaps some of the work they're also doin'
[00:04:51.260]on the Lower Elkhorn NRD where he's been a coordinator
[00:04:53.430]for no-till and cover crop programs, there,
[00:04:55.870]for over 15 years, now.
[00:04:58.070]I've lost track.
[00:04:59.900]19, Whoa, I have lost track.
[00:05:02.720]I've been in the system too long.
[00:05:04.050]And, that tells ya how long I've known Dan as well
[00:05:06.480]because been workin' on that program with him ever since.
[00:05:10.060]So again, Dan Gillespie, a no-till producer
[00:05:12.023]and NRCS no-till specialist.
[00:05:14.630]Thank you, Paul.
[00:05:17.310]Okay, great presentations, Justin and Nathan.
[00:05:22.280]Nathan, I attempted to become a wheat grower in 2006.
[00:05:26.230]I wish you'd have been around, then.
[00:05:28.610]Part of that we'll unwrap, unfold here.
[00:05:31.940]Okay, so, let's get goin', here.
[00:05:40.210]Okay, let's get goin' here. (laughs)
[00:05:49.200]Okay, there we go.
[00:05:50.640]All right, I'm from Madison County,
[00:05:52.540]northeast part of the state.
[00:05:54.510]Loess Hills, Nora, Croften, silty clay loams,
[00:05:57.040]four to 16 percent slopes, 65% irrigated,
[00:06:01.980]and about 26, 27 inches a year rainfall.
[00:06:06.950]This, actually, my journey with ephemeral gullies
[00:06:12.360]started in 2004.
[00:06:14.760]I'd been no-tilling continuously since 1991.
[00:06:19.251]13 years in, I thought I had the system.
[00:06:23.570]No-till, no-till, no-till.
[00:06:25.060]Leave the residue on the surface; deflect the impact
[00:06:27.715]of the raindrop.
[00:06:29.240]Everything was good.
[00:06:30.240]But then, we ran into 2004.
[00:06:33.630]I don't know how well you can see that green.
[00:06:35.280]That was a new experiment.
[00:06:36.730]Two and a half inches in 20 minutes.
[00:06:39.375]Seven and a half inch an hour intensity, there.
[00:06:42.440]60 mile an hour wind.
[00:06:43.800]This is a result of that.
[00:06:45.810]Ralph Pieke, who I worked with up at the Shell Creek
[00:06:48.230]Watershed group, called me up and said,
[00:06:50.347]"Let's get up in the air and take a look at it."
[00:06:53.070]So, if you've never seen a big rainfall event
[00:06:55.290]from the air and you have somebody
[00:06:56.920]that can get you up there, it's very interesting to watch.
[00:07:00.040]It's small watershed, big watershed.
[00:07:02.179]All the erosion runoff patterns all look the same.
[00:07:07.400]2005, we had five and three quarters in 45 minutes of hail.
[00:07:12.380]That was when I decided it was time to do something.
[00:07:14.991]2007 May, five inch to seven inch rain
[00:07:19.210]in the Battle Creek Watershed.
[00:07:20.480]2008, another three and a half incher
[00:07:23.060]on some saturated soils, some really saturated soils.
[00:07:26.760]And, it's amazing what the cover crops did for ya, there.
[00:07:29.860]You'll see the picture, there.
[00:07:31.190]It looks like there's a lot of damage.
[00:07:32.710]Mostly, that is just residue that moved.
[00:07:35.690]So, that was a relief when I got back out of the plane
[00:07:38.000]and got back out on the farm and looked at it.
[00:07:40.309]Here's the ephemeral gully experience where it started.
[00:07:44.160]These are some 16% slopes.
[00:07:46.070]I had put in waterways early on in my NRCS career.
[00:07:50.100]These were a little bit older.
[00:07:51.280]But, that intensity, it moved a lot of that bean residue,
[00:07:56.970]and I think a lot of it ended up right next
[00:07:59.848]to the flow area, the entrance area in the waterway.
[00:08:05.170]And, I had some water moving along the side of the waterway,
[00:08:09.990]which is a common experience with a lot of you guys
[00:08:12.410]on the older waterways.
[00:08:13.920]But, it cut some ditches, and it basically made
[00:08:16.256]those waterways unusable.
[00:08:19.010]So, I knew that those would eventually have to come out.
[00:08:23.910]And in the meantime, just decided to go
[00:08:28.035]to continuous cover cropping.
[00:08:30.030]Continuous cover cropping, at the end of the day here,
[00:08:32.900]will be the message that I probably tell you
[00:08:35.770]is the best thing you can do to address
[00:08:38.495]your ephemeral gullies from a cultural standpoint.
[00:08:43.250]Okay, so I'm borrowin' a couple of slides from Britt Weiser.
[00:08:47.120]It was Britt's job to educate all of us at NRCS
[00:08:51.730]about what was an ephemeral gully, what wasn't,
[00:08:55.650]what we should deal with the farmer with,
[00:08:57.760]and what was somewhat passable.
[00:09:02.420]Okay so, this is ugly.
[00:09:04.280]You can see the tillage.
[00:09:07.000]Essentially, you lost soil to the depth of tillage.
[00:09:12.070]So, that is a significant issue.
[00:09:15.950]And, this one is soil voiding for short lengths,
[00:09:20.290]some residue movement, then redepositing.
[00:09:22.500]And, that's not significant.
[00:09:25.410]But to me, it is.
[00:09:27.047]I wouldn't settle for either one of these two slides
[00:09:30.550]in my system.
[00:09:31.383]In my estimation, that's where the continuous cover crops
[00:09:35.120]and the no-till, together, have done good in combating that.
[00:09:41.823]So, why, you know, in 2004, five, six, when I became aware
[00:09:46.970]of those ephemeral gullies and said, "Okay, that's a sign
[00:09:50.657]"that I'm not doin' somethin' right."
[00:09:53.290]You know, now we know that that's an infiltration problem,
[00:09:56.050]not a runoff problem.
[00:09:57.760]But, why do they sneak by us so much?
[00:10:00.700]Why, over all these years, have we continued to tolerate
[00:10:06.170]the ephemeral gullies?
[00:10:08.010]Well, it's because at harvest time, we combine through 'em
[00:10:11.640]or around 'em, and we cover 'em up with residue.
[00:10:14.090]So, they're not quite as visible.
[00:10:15.380]That ugly scar isn't visible from the combine
[00:10:18.690]as you're harvesting.
[00:10:21.180]The next spring, when the crop canopies,
[00:10:24.160]they're covered up, again.
[00:10:26.630]So, don't mind the right of this.
[00:10:29.610]This is the only slide I could find
[00:10:31.260]that showed the canopy, here.
[00:10:33.210]But, they're sneaky, little devils.
[00:10:35.490]They don't come to our attention, much.
[00:10:37.800]So, what do we do that next spring?
[00:10:41.560]Oh, here they are.
[00:10:43.110]And, all we have time to do is go field cultivate 'em.
[00:10:47.060]So, I've identified a new psychological phenomenon, here.
[00:10:51.710]It's called EGI, ephemeral gully insanity.
[00:10:56.520]Move it and lose it, over and over again, okay.
[00:11:00.240]And, that's what we gotta get away from.
[00:11:03.450]I haven't written a paper on it, yet.
[00:11:05.980]Okay, so, and here it is.
[00:11:07.850]Here's the insanity, insane part of it,
[00:11:10.140]same time, down to tillage step.
[00:11:11.900]Every time, it happens.
[00:11:15.850]Now, there's one thing good I did find out about,
[00:11:18.320]tillin' your flow areas.
[00:11:19.350]You can find where you left that pair of pliers.
[00:11:25.610]I'm sure we've all planted a lot of 'em,
[00:11:27.180]but they don't grow.
[00:11:28.020]We know that, now.
[00:11:30.590]Okay, so, after that event in 2004, I was just continuous
[00:11:35.770]no-till, corn and the beans, beans and the corn.
[00:11:38.098]And, the function, there, is with your increased
[00:11:40.510]biological activity, that low residue, soybean residue
[00:11:45.860]with low carbon-nitrogen ratio, it cycles.
[00:11:49.210]It's gone, and you have a lot of raindrop impact
[00:11:51.915]doing damage before you reach crop camp.
[00:11:55.180]So, that's the situation, there.
[00:11:56.520]So, my way to address it at that point in time
[00:12:01.000]was to get out the blade and address those areas,
[00:12:04.850]reshape them and vegetate them.
[00:12:08.120]So, I'm still just a corn-bean, no-till both ways farmer
[00:12:11.810]at this point in time.
[00:12:13.560]Now, if you're gonna do that, if you're going to move it,
[00:12:16.790]you gotta vegetate it.
[00:12:18.850]And, what I did then, that was my practice was
[00:12:22.280]to do a vertical up and down with the bushel rate
[00:12:26.040]and then take the time and go back and forth,
[00:12:28.660]all the way down, 'cause you don't wanna leave these guys
[00:12:31.020]up and down the hill.
[00:12:32.320]Let's cross check that, seven and a half inch spacing.
[00:12:35.200]If we're gonna vegetate it,
[00:12:36.480]let's do a good job of vegetating, okay.
[00:12:40.540]And, this is still pre-continuous cover crop case.
[00:12:43.370]They're called annual waterways.
[00:12:45.120]We do it every year.
[00:12:46.850]You don't have to do it every year unless you have damage.
[00:12:49.240]So here, just disturb what's necessary.
[00:12:53.380]Fix that; repair that.
[00:12:54.560]That's what I was doin' back then.
[00:12:56.690]But, vegetate the whole flow area, top to bottom.
[00:13:00.340]Stabilize the whole thing.
[00:13:01.410]Mother Nature figured out how to stabilize areas
[00:13:03.436]with vegetation, and that's what we.
[00:13:07.570]Okay, so you've drilled those flow areas.
[00:13:11.470]This is planted.
[00:13:14.010]Plant right through it.
[00:13:15.261]I don't do any activity.
[00:13:17.620]My first trip to the field, corn or beans, is a planter.
[00:13:22.190]I want that fresh, mellow spring thaw,
[00:13:27.780]freeze thaw condition of the soil to be there for me.
[00:13:31.600]So, plant right through it.
[00:13:34.420]I follow with my Weed and Feed,
[00:13:35.950]which is an acetochlor grass product,
[00:13:38.600]a little atrazine in it.
[00:13:40.370]But, it doesn't kill the rye.
[00:13:42.570]It'll sting it a little bit,
[00:13:43.690]that atrazine burn, a little fertilizer burn.
[00:13:45.690]It'll burn it a little bit, but it's still there, growing.
[00:13:49.720]Back then, I didn't realize it's the living roots
[00:13:51.950]in the soil that's givin' us all that stability,
[00:13:54.220]aggregate stability, that Nathan talked about.
[00:13:58.140]But, that was a part of the whole thing.
[00:14:01.710]So, that was workin' okay.
[00:14:04.333]But, it was more work than I wanted to do.
[00:14:07.740]In 2008, I had a little rye left over
[00:14:09.900]at the end of the year.
[00:14:11.210]And I'm like, "Well, what am I gonna do with this?"
[00:14:13.500]If I leave it in the drill, it'll get bugs,
[00:14:15.100]and I'll just end up backing it out and throwing it away.
[00:14:18.510]So, I decided to go in, on my corn acres where, you know,
[00:14:23.316]the corn, in the corn here with all this residue
[00:14:27.033]and plant canopy, the flow areas tend to stay pretty stable.
[00:14:32.390]It's not an issue as much.
[00:14:33.840]So, I decided augment that flow area
[00:14:36.827]and that irrigated corn with some rye.
[00:14:41.870]Worked out pretty good.
[00:14:43.100]Like the other slides, just drill right through 'em.
[00:14:49.290]And then, terminate them.
[00:14:50.690]Now again, yesterday at our conference up in Norfolk,
[00:14:56.290]Jay Fuhrer was talking, and it made me think
[00:15:00.190]about a lot of the things that I was doin', back then.
[00:15:03.460]But you know, here, just with that annual waterway
[00:15:07.170]in there, I wasn't, at that point in time,
[00:15:09.930]I was no-tilling my beans into my corn stalks
[00:15:13.110]and not usin' a pre.
[00:15:14.140]And, I still haven't used a pre to this day.
[00:15:16.420]I think I credit that to the many years
[00:15:18.960]of continuous no-till residue buildup that I've had.
[00:15:23.500]Eventually, with the water hemp, palmer, mare's tail issue,
[00:15:28.750]that's where it becomes necessary
[00:15:29.974]to maybe have some pres down.
[00:15:32.080]So, this is actually the first trip over
[00:15:35.000]at about second or third trifoliate in the beans.
[00:15:37.720]So, I've let that cereal rye at that two bushel rate
[00:15:41.420]grow in that waterway.
[00:15:42.630]And, you see the beans do quite well underneath there.
[00:15:44.970]And, there are a lot of people that are planting green
[00:15:46.720]right now and finding out that not only do soybeans
[00:15:50.480]do well or accommodate that cereal rye cover crop,
[00:15:55.570]they do well with it.
[00:15:57.760]You're talkin' to a lot of guys, seven to 15 percent yield
[00:16:01.440]increases by planting those two, together,
[00:16:04.040]and lettin' 'em grow, together.
[00:16:06.210]So, it works pretty good, there.
[00:16:07.840]You know, this is still in the learning stage.
[00:16:10.040]A little picture, a little bit closer in, there.
[00:16:12.810]The beans, the beans do well on that.
[00:16:15.390]One of the side benefits is that rye makes 'em stretch
[00:16:18.680]out a little bit before they set that first node.
[00:16:21.740]And, I'm a small farmer.
[00:16:22.830]I can't afford a 45 foot draper head to get down
[00:16:25.430]and get every little, every last bean.
[00:16:28.610]But, that higher node length with my old cutter bar,
[00:16:32.800]auger type head, I'm gettin'
[00:16:35.210]a harvest efficiency out of that.
[00:16:37.030]Just a side benefit.
[00:16:39.740]Okay, so here's a three inch rain
[00:16:42.470]on top of a situation like that.
[00:16:45.230]We had water movement.
[00:16:48.090]I'm gonna show you a picture later; here's the pivot point.
[00:16:50.800]I'm gonna show you a picture later standing up there
[00:16:53.790]and shootin' back into this hillside.
[00:16:56.133]You had some water movement, little residue movement,
[00:17:00.840]bending over those stalks.
[00:17:03.410]You know, this is a stalk density that figures
[00:17:05.770]into our engineering when we design waterways.
[00:17:10.100]But, you have to have a certain amount of retardants
[00:17:13.160]in that waterway.
[00:17:13.993]So, it did slow the water down that did run off.
[00:17:17.930]And again, I'm still not in the continuous cover cropping
[00:17:21.120]system, so I had more runoff than I'd like.
[00:17:25.010]The beans came out of that quite well.
[00:17:28.070]And, here we are.
[00:17:28.903]There's the two flow areas, again, an annual waterway.
[00:17:31.940]I'm addressing those as I need to, every year.
[00:17:36.000]You can see that the rye underneath there, you know,
[00:17:38.710]there may have been some nutrient take up,
[00:17:46.300]But, at the end of the year, there they are, yet.
[00:17:50.710]You can barely seen 'em.
[00:17:52.860]And, you know, to this day, yet, I fly through those
[00:17:56.550]with my sprayer and the combine.
[00:17:59.100]It's just, so it's workable.
[00:18:02.920]But, here's the thing that changed my mind
[00:18:04.870]about what I was doin' with the annual waterway option.
[00:18:10.800]This is the home farm, lookin' out my south side.
[00:18:13.970]And, this is the waterway that gets fed by the farmstead.
[00:18:17.960]So, if you do design, you know farmsteads,
[00:18:20.810]you have a lot of runoff.
[00:18:22.810]So, I was always taking care of that one.
[00:18:25.490]So, here we are, in May of 2008.
[00:18:28.370]Little bit later, after that first burn down, okay.
[00:18:31.400]So, I've got all my stock density and everything in there,
[00:18:35.020]for retardants and all those technical terms.
[00:18:38.820]But, here's what caught my eye in August.
[00:18:42.460]I got guys over there, irrigatin' beans.
[00:18:44.470]I'm not irrigatin', yet.
[00:18:46.130]And, here's that flow area.
[00:18:49.020]Dark green, and the rest of the field was light.
[00:18:52.850]And I'm goin', "Okay, there's somethin' there."
[00:18:55.060]And that, apparently, is playing into that seven to 10,
[00:18:58.460]15 percent yield increase that the beans planted green
[00:19:02.130]into rye is showing, now.
[00:19:05.410]So, that made me start thinking, okay, on the hillside
[00:19:10.560]with the old waterways that I had to take out,
[00:19:13.020]I went ahead and planted through them.
[00:19:15.250]I didn't do anything with them that year.
[00:19:18.500]The next year, I sprayed 'em out and started doin'
[00:19:21.278]the annual waterway thing.
[00:19:23.380]And now, in the fall of 2006, I decided to aerial apply
[00:19:30.630]rye to that big ol' hillside, 16% slopes up in here.
[00:19:35.530]And, as Gillespie's life goes, in 2006 when I did this,
[00:19:41.471]we flew it on September 1st, and by September 9th,
[00:19:47.680]we'd had four inches of rain.
[00:19:49.870]Everybody who's done aerial application knows
[00:19:52.076]that that's the key to havin'
[00:19:53.580]a successful aerial application.
[00:19:55.720]Mother Nature, this is dryland,
[00:19:57.230]so Mother Nature has to cooperate with you.
[00:19:59.960]So, it worked great.
[00:20:01.160]And what was key, you know, the thing that sold me
[00:20:03.320]on the whole field, cover crop thing
[00:20:07.420]in this bean ground was, you know, knowing
[00:20:09.200]that there wasn't enough residue there
[00:20:12.550]to protect my soil surface.
[00:20:15.150]And, you know, it just made sense to do, if I'm gonna
[00:20:18.140]be out there screwin' around with waterways,
[00:20:20.367]let's just put right in the drill
[00:20:22.970]and do the whole field, okay.
[00:20:25.540]So, in May of 2007, we had a seven inch rain
[00:20:28.420]in the Battle Creek Watershed.
[00:20:30.210]Millions of dollars worth of damage
[00:20:31.780]in the city of Battle Creek.
[00:20:33.890]And, I was out there three days later,
[00:20:36.090]planting this hillside, and I didn't have to do anything
[00:20:39.612]with the ephemeral or with the flow areas.
[00:20:43.000]I had a neighbor, I mean, I was about half done,
[00:20:45.770]and he's like, "Well hey, Dan, I see you're out plantin'.
[00:20:48.237]"Do you think I should try it?"
[00:20:50.460]And I said, "Well, you can go out and try it,
[00:20:52.757]"but you realize you have a different system than I have.
[00:20:55.477]"You're no-tilling; that's good.
[00:20:57.357]"But, you have a different system than I do."
[00:21:00.320]And, he went out, and he wasn't able to plant.
[00:21:03.780]But, this was the beginning.
[00:21:06.540]Again, home run the first year I do it.
[00:21:09.080]I spent several years after that being frustrated
[00:21:11.221]with aerial application because I never was able
[00:21:14.330]to match those results.
[00:21:17.900]So, that's where I ended up going to a,
[00:21:20.190]I actually, now I drill after the corn, after the beans.
[00:21:24.060]And, we'll talk about that, how that works out well.
[00:21:27.000]But, the thing with that cover crop then,
[00:21:29.670]I had Jim Reedy, our engineer at water quality
[00:21:32.460]at the Norfolk office do some work for me.
[00:21:35.790]Our grass waterway's terraces basins are all designed
[00:21:38.810]on a 10 year, 24 hour rainfall event.
[00:21:41.870]And you can see, the precipitation events.
[00:21:45.560]The runoff control numbers are, they are assigned
[00:21:50.960]for, like, the 74 number is row crops contoured
[00:21:54.130]and terraced in poor soil condition.
[00:21:56.640]The runoff curve number 64 was assigned for row crops
[00:21:59.740]with a cover crop.
[00:22:01.420]And, we correlated that to a suitability group of soil
[00:22:08.340]with grass in good condition.
[00:22:10.250]So that, essentially, is the field-wide cover crop,
[00:22:13.160]watershed-wide cover crop.
[00:22:15.430]You can see where that, you know, just puttin'
[00:22:18.130]that cover crop in there reduces that Q,
[00:22:21.140]which is the runoff, from almost two to almost one,
[00:22:27.420]These are the higher rainfall events, 25 year, 24 hours.
[00:22:31.849]That's what we design dams off of.
[00:22:34.227]The 100 year, 24 hour, 7.29, you go back
[00:22:38.000]to that rainfall event in 2004 that made me say,
[00:22:42.537]"Okay, something's not right, here.
[00:22:44.027]"We gotta do somethin' more."
[00:22:46.010]That equated to a seven inch rainfall event,
[00:22:49.050]that two and a half in 20 minutes.
[00:22:52.740]Okay, so, if we can do that with a one inch,
[00:22:58.820]you know, the difference in runoff control numbers,
[00:23:03.780]a one inch increase in soil absorption rate increases
[00:23:07.190]the runoff 37%.
[00:23:09.670]How many of us here think, with our continuous no-till
[00:23:12.270]and cover crops, we're gettin' more than one inch more
[00:23:15.270]in the ground?
[00:23:20.700]So, if we double that to two inches, you know,
[00:23:25.190]what's that gonna do out there?
[00:23:26.400]Well, what it's done for me is I haven't worked
[00:23:28.460]an ephemeral flow area in five years.
[00:23:33.625]So, that's the benefit, outside of the fact
[00:23:36.152]that the system, the continuous no-till
[00:23:38.610]continuous cover cropping system, is great for your soil.
[00:23:41.820]You're addressing that.
[00:23:42.900]And, this is my experience as a farmer.
[00:23:44.890]Now, some of you that may have just started no-tilling,
[00:23:48.280]keep in mind this was 2004, 2006, and I had already been
[00:23:53.169]continuous no-tilling for 13 to 15 years, already.
[00:23:57.020]So, I have some soil structure benefits
[00:23:58.990]that that cover crop scenario augmented, okay.
[00:24:05.180]So, here's 2007; here's my wheat crop, Nathan.
[00:24:10.011]It's like April 25th, and I'm lookin' at the prices,
[00:24:14.970]like we all do, like we shouldn't do.
[00:24:16.950]But, I had Neil Bose, the guy who had talked me
[00:24:21.180]into planting wheat, come up because he was gonna have
[00:24:23.960]me do sunflowers, after that.
[00:24:26.957]And, we looked at it, and I said, "You know,
[00:24:29.107]"is this 100 bushel wheat?"
[00:24:31.130]And, he said, "I can't guarantee that."
[00:24:32.870]And I'm like, "Well, I know I can grow 200 bushel corn."
[00:24:35.647]And corn was four bucks, and wheat was about four, too.
[00:24:39.610]There was just a no-brainer, right there.
[00:24:41.320]So, I terminated it at about 12 inch heighth.
[00:24:46.810]And you know, now, with my continuous cover crops,
[00:24:51.590]primarily a cereal rye base, I like to get 'em up
[00:24:55.080]to late boot stage, early head stage.
[00:24:57.210]If I have the moisture in that soil profile,
[00:25:00.050]dryland and irrigated, if I can grow them that long,
[00:25:02.870]I will, just because of the above-ground biomass.
[00:25:06.420]But more so, the more you have above ground,
[00:25:09.250]the more you have below ground as well.
[00:25:11.260]So, we terminated this, and I planted it.
[00:25:13.770]Worked pretty good.
[00:25:15.220]12 inch high cover crop doesn't leave you
[00:25:18.650]a lot of top cover.
[00:25:19.970]You can see evidence of the biological systems, there.
[00:25:24.630]There's not much bean residue left there, already.
[00:25:26.630]So, we needed that, that rye cover crop in there,
[00:25:30.410]just for soil erosion control which, again,
[00:25:32.490]is the number one reason to do all of this, okay.
[00:25:36.150]My good friend Dan Schultz, you know, farmers are
[00:25:39.290]pretty visual people.
[00:25:40.350]So, I'm givin' you a visual, there.
That's 12 inches.
[00:25:45.790]But, you know, what struck me, Dan sent this to me
[00:25:49.400]several years ago.
[00:25:50.780]Well, you know what he was doin'?
[00:25:52.400]It rained, course, and he's out checkin' the cover crops.
[00:25:57.410]So, he sent me that.
[00:25:58.410]But, that's at the very minimum.
[00:26:01.200]I would not terminate cereal rye before 12 inches,
[00:26:04.701]16 inches, even in a dryland situation.
[00:26:07.700]If your moisture profile is good comin' out of spring
[00:26:10.410]and you've had adequate or normal spring rainfall,
[00:26:14.470]you can do 12 to 16.
[00:26:17.050]As Jay Fuhrer told us yesterday,
[00:26:19.430]the ideal carbon-nitrogen ratio for microbial activity
[00:26:23.530]is, like, 24 to one.
[00:26:26.110]And, rye this size, 12 to 16 inches, is at 26 to one.
[00:26:31.580]So, that will cycle quickly and not give you the nutrient
[00:26:36.350]tie-up that I experienced this year.
[00:26:38.920]This year, in the 13 years I've been doin' cover crops,
[00:26:45.740]was the first year I let that cereal rye cover crop
[00:26:48.420]on dryland, go just a little bit too far.
[00:26:52.160]I have a tendency to walk up to that line
[00:26:54.320]and if it worked, I'd step over the line and move the line.
[00:26:57.460]And, it cost me this year.
[00:26:58.530]But, I had a rainfall total of one inch
[00:27:03.840]from May 21st to July 10th.
[00:27:06.500]So, I had dry soils.
[00:27:08.100]There was nutrient flow issues, a number of 'em.
[00:27:11.400]And, I cost myself anywhere
[00:27:12.544]from 15 to 30 bushel an acre in dryland.
[00:27:15.920]That's one year out of 10.
[00:27:17.920]I'll eat that, and I'll step back from that line
[00:27:21.134]like a good boy should.
[00:27:25.020]Okay, so, here we go, into our rainfall events in May.
[00:27:28.790]Five inches in May, look how much of that residue is gone
[00:27:33.120]already, terminating only at 12.
[00:27:35.960]That's why I'm saying, if you're gonna do
[00:27:37.350]the continuous cover crops, to try to address
[00:27:40.610]those ephemeral gully issues, you need to let it get
[00:27:43.760]some growth to it.
[00:27:45.840]Here's the south side of the farm, where that waterway is
[00:27:48.220]that I showed you before.
[00:27:50.410]We've got water movement, residue movement,
[00:27:54.140]but the corn is all there, yet.
[00:27:55.560]So, that indicates to me I didn't lose any soil.
[00:27:59.270]So, that was a positive.
[00:28:00.500]And, you know, I'm slow to adapt sometimes,
[00:28:03.290]but this had me thinking.
[00:28:04.340]Okay, this is probably the right way to go.
[00:28:08.460]This is in June 2007 after that May five inch rain.
[00:28:13.100]Paul, you recognize this one from yesterday?
[00:28:16.260]So again, this is a pivot access road, here,
[00:28:20.770]and everything concentrates right there
[00:28:23.770]and breaks over this pretty sharp 16% slope, here.
[00:28:27.540]And, it held.
[00:28:28.373]Even with that amount of cover crop out there, it held.
[00:28:33.000]So, I was pretty impressed.
[00:28:36.319]From that point on, it was a cover crop in the beans,
[00:28:42.590]every year, until 2013 when I started doin' the corn.
[00:28:46.810]So, continuous corn, continuous cover crops
[00:28:49.610]in that corn-bean in 2013.
[00:28:52.090]This is a 60-90 soybean special, so I'm planting
[00:28:57.033]two rows, 15 inch spacing, of rye cover crop
[00:29:01.565]in-between the corn rows.
[00:29:03.070]And, you can see the advantage that leaves
[00:29:05.700]is that my stock height stays there.
[00:29:09.900]Chris Klassen and I were visiting at break about drilling
[00:29:13.520]with seven and a half inch spacing in corn stalks in wind.
[00:29:17.360]It can rearrange things a little bit for you.
[00:29:19.280]That happened to me in 2012.
[00:29:22.060]And, I like this system better.
[00:29:24.910]Okay, so, we're puttin' the rye in, post harvest.
[00:29:28.780]This is probably likely in early November, sometime.
[00:29:32.210]I've drilled it as late as December.
[00:29:33.890]Dormant planting rye is fine.
[00:29:36.045]It'll germinate under the snow, sometimes,
[00:29:39.573]but the key thing is, with this dormant planting,
[00:29:42.394]get it in there as soon as you can.
[00:29:44.640]You're gonna get, as soon as ground temp hits 34 degrees
[00:29:47.179]in the spring, it's gonna start growin'.
[00:29:49.460]It's gonna be those heavy May, June rainfall events.
[00:29:54.080]It's gonna have six weeks of growth before those get there.
[00:29:57.470]And, it'll have time to give you some cover.
[00:30:01.090]So, here's the beans comin' back into that corn, now.
[00:30:04.100]With that late planting, you don't have much
[00:30:06.470]of a heighth of rye.
[00:30:07.730]It's about, maybe eight, 10 inches.
[00:30:10.050]It can tolerate 16 to 20, if you have the rainfall
[00:30:14.700]in the spring.
[00:30:16.110]So, sock the beans right in there.
[00:30:18.150]Let 'em grow with the cover crop.
[00:30:22.490]Planting green is planting a cash crop and a cover,
[00:30:25.930]into a cover crop and letting them both grow
[00:30:29.080]at the same time for a period of time.
[00:30:32.140]And, your management is key to determining
[00:30:34.690]that period of time.
[00:30:35.910]I found out my period of time this year
[00:30:37.710]on my farm, on my dryland.
[00:30:39.980]I went a little bit too far.
[00:30:42.820]Okay, here's your other visual.
[00:30:44.900]This is what I like to get if I can.
[00:30:47.410]That's about a 10 inch tall bottle.
[00:30:49.810]So, he's got 24 inches of growth on there.
[00:30:52.760]And, you can see, there's lignin in those stalks.
[00:30:56.043]When something, when a rye cover crop this size starts
[00:31:00.370]to break down, it'll look like, somewhat like a wheat field.
[00:31:07.110]Not quite the amount of stubble, but you're gettin' there.
[00:31:09.300]You've got your no-till residue, good aggregate stability,
[00:31:13.100]soil structure and everything.
[00:31:14.560]And, now you've got that amount of biomass.
[00:31:18.760]Beans do fine in it, but this is what I wanna see.
[00:31:21.910]You know, I don't wanna see my beans peekin' out of those,
[00:31:24.470]a bed rye cover crop, until through mid-July,
[00:31:30.150]maybe late July.
[00:31:31.610]That tells me I've got enough out there.
[00:31:33.200]But, this is the key.
[00:31:34.480]We're changing that runoff curve number.
[00:31:37.820]We're changing the conditions in the field to something
[00:31:40.903]that looks more like a grass, Mother Nature's best scenario.
[00:31:47.990]And, we're maintaining that.
[00:31:50.020]So, how am I doin' for time?
[00:31:53.654]I'm about done.
[00:31:55.450]So, if I get done, we can talk about things a little bit.
[00:31:58.310]But, here's the thing that becomes the big bonus
[00:32:00.062]out of the whole deal.
[00:32:02.170]Here is a long term chart.
[00:32:04.510]I've been doing this charting at zero to two
[00:32:08.170]and zero to eight and testing for NPK, a bunch
[00:32:11.620]of micronutrients, soil organic matter, pH, and all that.
[00:32:15.360]And, here we are.
[00:32:16.510]Year one is 1999.
[00:32:18.080]I'd been no-tilling for, continuously, for eight years.
[00:32:22.460]And, we're bouncin' around, here.
[00:32:23.750]Here's some of that variability that might be associated
[00:32:27.204]with sampling, or it might just be the variability
[00:32:31.020]inherent in a soil organic matter test.
[00:32:33.780]But, you'll have, you'll see those spikes.
[00:32:35.820]But, here I am, bouncin' around
[00:32:37.300]in my corn-soybean rotation, down here.
[00:32:40.130]Started at two percent.
[00:32:41.330]In 1991, I was probably 1.6 to 1.8.
[00:32:45.450]Takes a little while, building up that residue
[00:32:47.820]and soil biology to start changing things.
[00:32:50.968]Here's 2006 when we decided,
[00:32:53.901]okay, it's time to do something.
[00:32:56.160]You know, those ephemeral gullies are tellin' me
[00:32:58.550]that I have an infiltration problem, okay.
[00:33:01.970]So, we have to change that.
[00:33:03.300]So, here come the cover crops.
[00:33:06.050]And, you can just see, you know.
[00:33:08.460]If I had the actual chart with the numbers on it,
[00:33:11.320]you'd see a straight line
[00:33:12.970]from two to four percent in 11 years.
[00:33:18.660]But, you'll see actually, in the chart,
[00:33:21.680]we're continuous no-till here, and we are cover crops
[00:33:26.366]after the soybeans, which if you're going to try
[00:33:29.620]to address your ephemeral gullies,
[00:33:32.200]there's the place to start.
[00:33:33.550]That's the weak sister in a corn-soybean rotation.
[00:33:36.630]Again, as I said, with the residue
[00:33:38.340]and the carbon-nitrogen ratio, it's just,
[00:33:40.420]high protein doesn't stick around a lot.
[00:33:42.480]But on the numbers, somewhere around in 2013
[00:33:45.720]when I started goin' both corn and soybean,
[00:33:50.000]continuous crop afterwards, that's when they changed
[00:33:53.360]from twos to threes to threes to fours, here.
[00:33:56.500]So, that's your key.
[00:33:59.170]Okay, as I was looking for old slides, I came across this
[00:34:03.729]in an old presentation.
[00:34:05.750]This is my 17-year-old.
[00:34:08.430]She's six, there, okay.
[00:34:10.800]And, some of you may have seen this before,
[00:34:12.820]but I'm bankin' that a lot of guys haven't, so.
[00:34:15.650]Here's her six inch bass, okay.
[00:34:19.610]The tag line perception is 95% of reality.
[00:34:23.730]So, she was pretty proud of her fish.
[00:34:25.370]So, I grab the fish, and I held it closer to the camera
[00:34:28.720]and took another shot of her.
[00:34:30.220]Now, she's got a six pound bass, okay.
[00:34:33.770]But, we gotta change the way we perceive things.
[00:34:36.002]If you're seeing ephemeral gullies
[00:34:39.810]in your continuous no-till system, it's an indicator
[00:34:43.460]that you're not there, yet.
[00:34:45.340]When producers come into the office
[00:34:46.950]and they're somewhat frustrated with the new attention
[00:34:49.885]given to 'em, my first advice or counsel,
[00:34:55.980]or whatever you want to call it, to them is,
[00:34:57.770]those things are tellin' you something, yet,
[00:35:00.230]that you're not where you need to be.
[00:35:03.250]Okay, if you have any questions?
[00:35:05.780]Questions for Dan.
[00:35:11.123]What do you think of weed control
[00:35:12.792]between having a 15 inch rye and
[00:35:15.637]Repeat the question, Dan.
[00:35:17.234]Okay, Jeff's question is: What do you think
[00:35:19.271]of the weed control between seven and a half inch
[00:35:22.050]spacing rye and 15 inch?
[00:35:24.250]And, I've looked at, actually, seven and a half, 15, and 30
[00:35:28.680]because my drill was plugged once for half a quarter.
[00:35:32.230]So, I got a lot of replications, there.
[00:35:35.890]But, I really don't find a lot of difference.
[00:35:38.670]Now, you know, given all the years of continuous no-till
[00:35:42.740]and then the cover crops up to going
[00:35:44.540]to continuous cover crops, in the bean ground
[00:35:47.135]is where you're gonna see that mare's tail germinate a lot
[00:35:50.930]because you open up the canopy.
[00:35:52.990]And, it's there at the period of time
[00:35:56.020]that mare's tail germinates in the fall.
[00:35:59.380]And, I watch that, when I went to my 60-90 15 inch spacings,
[00:36:04.720]because, honestly, the 15 foot drill, it drove me nuts.
[00:36:10.240]Yeah, it takes you a day and a half to drill it.
[00:36:13.440]I have a cure for that.
[00:36:15.530]I have somebody else do it.
[00:36:19.050]And, I'm serious, actually.
[00:36:20.810]You know, I have buddies that graduated from high school
[00:36:23.727]with me that were wanna-be farmers.
[00:36:27.060]You got auto steer.
[00:36:28.510]Load it up; turn 'em loose.
[00:36:30.390]You can actually do that.
[00:36:31.850]But, I actually, Jeff, didn't find a lot of difference
[00:36:34.170]between the seven and a half inch spacings
[00:36:37.920]and the 15 inch spacings.
[00:36:39.240]I don't know if it's the history of cover crops
[00:36:41.970]for that many years, by the time I made that comparison.
[00:36:44.740]But, when I did go to that skip row, where it was
[00:36:47.530]30 inch spacings, I found some mustards
[00:36:50.772]and a few mare's tail, there.
[00:36:53.000]So, spacing is an issue.
[00:36:55.440]I wouldn't go less than 15.
[00:36:57.430]That's a good question.
[00:37:15.762]Oh yeah, good question.
[00:37:18.140]Mike's question is: Based on Justin's presentation,
[00:37:22.240]do I have any speculation as to the effect on insects?
[00:37:26.660]Okay, the first thing, I love my ladybugs.
[00:37:29.752]That cereal rye is a great host for them.
[00:37:32.960]I'm out there in early April, servicing pivots,
[00:37:36.590]and I find ladybugs everywhere.
[00:37:38.850]And, I was tellin' Mike, the last two years,
[00:37:41.650]I've got pictures of ladybugs havin' sex out in the open
[00:37:45.434]on an ear of corn, right in my corn field.
[00:37:47.500]And, I'm going, "My God, is there that many of you
[00:37:49.237]"that you can't find a place to go?" (laughs)
[00:37:53.880]But, yeah, definitely.
[00:37:55.450]And, ladybugs are generalists, so they're eatin' everything.
[00:37:59.380]And, I find Justin's research really interesting
[00:38:03.570]because it measured the amount of predator, or of pests
[00:38:09.160]that really didn't.
[00:38:10.800]They didn't look into the effect
[00:38:12.390]that the predators were having on that population.
[00:38:15.050]I will say, Brian Dunlap, who was a presenter here
[00:38:19.340]last year, has been scouting for me
[00:38:23.780]since I started 26 years ago.
[00:38:28.050]And, he was my scout, my agronomist, because he was
[00:38:32.950]one agronomist, back in those days, that did say,
[00:38:36.957]"Okay, we're gonna look at this no-till positively."
[00:38:40.440]And, I have never sprayed for black cutworm, armyworm.
[00:38:44.860]Wayne Ohnesorg and I did find some of the soldier bugs,
[00:38:48.500]out scouting last year.
[00:38:50.110]Haven't sprayed for aphids, and that actually segues
[00:38:54.520]into another point, there.
[00:38:57.290]Planting green, planting soybeans green into the rye,
[00:39:01.340]you've got an active AMF,
[00:39:03.530]arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal system, in there,
[00:39:06.278]that colonizes the soybeans as soon as they germinate.
[00:39:11.810]So, it's allows me to go without seed treatments.
[00:39:15.630]So, I'm plantin' naked seed, and yields are in that
[00:39:19.342]seven to 10 bushel, seven to 10 percent better yield range.
[00:39:29.800]So, you know, cut 13 dollars out, there, okay.
[00:39:34.210]Oh, one question over there.
[00:39:35.790]You say you're planting corn or, yeah, corn
[00:39:38.550]into the standing rye, the live rye, right?
[00:39:41.840]Yes, but within one or two days, either side of it,
[00:39:45.760]of termination-plant or plant and termination.
[00:39:48.231]It just depends on when my neighbor gets there.
[00:39:50.070]Okay, so not like the beans, where you're lettin'
[00:39:52.980]the rye grow along with the beans?
[00:39:55.260]More so than the corn.
[00:39:57.190]And, I'll counsel you guys that are just starting out
[00:40:00.690]with the cereal rye, I would do the Budweiser bottle
[00:40:04.910]before I would do the water bottle, there.
[00:40:09.740]Play it on the safe side.
[00:40:11.300]If you don't have four percent organic matter
[00:40:14.250]or three percent organic matter,
[00:40:16.762]that mineralization is gonna be affected.
[00:40:20.460]Immobilization is gonna affect you more.
[00:40:23.160]But, do you worry about the allelopathy affect
[00:40:27.200]from the dying rye?
[00:40:30.287]No, actually not.
[00:40:31.250]I'm not a big believer in the ooze getting there.
[00:40:35.260]But, it might be because I have three and four percent
[00:40:37.670]organic matter, and I'm planting deep.
[00:40:39.320]And, there's another good result of that question.
[00:40:42.000]Plant deep when you plant into cover crops.
[00:40:45.550]So, you've got four percent organic matter,
[00:40:47.960]and there's some time to work on that,
[00:40:50.330]if there is an ooze issue.
[00:40:51.580]But, I think I found out in my dryland this year
[00:40:54.150]that it is more a moisture and nutrient tie-up thing
[00:40:59.120]than it is an allelopathy.
[00:41:02.670]Okay, I'll be around, thank you.
[00:41:16.300]As Dan said, he'll be around,
[00:41:18.490]so please visit with him.
[00:41:19.930]He has a wealth of experience and observations.
[00:41:25.080]I got one slide that I was looping, you know,
[00:41:28.270]from all the slides you sent me,
[00:41:29.680]where there was a soybean stubble and a rye cover crop.
[00:41:34.700]And, where there was soybean stubble, it was purple
[00:41:37.710]with henbit, and where the rye cover crop was, you know,
[00:41:41.350]there was only a few henbit plants in there.
[00:41:43.410]So, it does make a big difference.
[00:41:45.470]Someone asked about wheat suppression, so.
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