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Soil Sense

89 EpisodesProduced by NDSU ExtensionWebsite

Welcome to the Soil Sense Podcast, where we believe that building healthier soils is not just a prescription, but rather a pursuit. This journey requires collaboration, curiosity, and communication among farmers, agricultural researchers, agronomists, consultants, and extension. You’re going to hear… read more


Strip-Till and Cover Crops

Today we are joined by Mark Olson, a farmer in Southeast North Dakota, and Matt Olson, an agronomist with 20 years of experience with Centrol Ag Consulting. The two bring interesting insights into their 20-year long relationship they have cultivated between farmer and agronomist. Their relationship started over questions about soil fertility and soil testing.

“I learn a lot from my growers because a lot of my growers are very innovative and want to try new things.” - Matt Olson

Matt admits that when Mark first discussed the introduction of cover crops he thought it might be “short-lived Hocus Pocus.” After 7-10 years of using cover crops he now happily admits he has been impressed with their effect and the dramatic increase in yields. Between cover crops and strip tilling Mark and Matt are exploring new techniques on many fronts. Mark refers to it as a “mindset” change that requires commitment.

“I think we’ve got to keep learning and experimenting. I think that is the next key to getting more biology stimulated. We’re constantly learning.” - Mark Olson

So how do they know their changes are leading towards success? In a word: yield. Their yields are increasing every year and placing Mark as one of the top of producers in his area. Mark’s operation has also realized a decrease in herbicide needs with the use of cover crops. Mark shares that “it’s not where you farm. You’ve just got to have an open mind.” For those interested in changing their protocols, Mark recommends starting with “small projects.” He also suggests talking to neighbors, asking lots of questions and of course always being open to learning something new.

“Yields are increasing, getting better soil health, protecting the land. It's going very well.” - Matt Olson

This Week on Soil Sense:

  • Meet Mark Olson and Matt Olson, a farmer and agronomist that have worked together to increase yields on Mark’s farm with some new techniques
  • Explore the dynamics of their relationship that has grown over many years
  • Learn what cover crops and strip tilling has provided Mark’s farm and why he actively promotes its use
  • Hear what Mark and Matt have in store for the future of Mark’s farm

Connect with Soil Sense:

Soil Sense Podcast is hosted by Tim Hammerich of the Future of Agriculture Podcast.

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