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Soil Sense

90 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


Farmer Experiences with Wide Row Corn

60” corn has been a hot topic in many soil health circles. This wider row spacing can allow for greater light penetration and improve the environment for interseeded cover crop growth. We hosted both a farmer panel and a researcher panel on 60” corn at the DIRT Workshop this past December. In this episode, farmers discuss their system, what yield differences they’ve seen, timing and harvesting considerations, grazing value, crop insurance, and more. To meet these producers and watch the panel discussions click the links below to find the NDSU soil health Youtube channel.

Also on this panel was Mike Schaefer, who actually planted a full vegetable garden between corn rows on a small plot in New Rockford, North Dakota. We don’t get into that full story today, but I encourage you to check out his video on Youtube.

“It isn’t that the broad pass covers or interseeding covers didn’t work. It just wasn’t as consistent for the following year as I would like to see….I have never had a consistent cover as I have right now going into winter.” - Joe Breker

Joe shares that in spreading out his rows, adding cover crops and applying more fertilizer he did not see a large yield reduction in the cash crop. His goal going forward is to improve weed control by adjusting his cover crop mixture without affecting the yield further. Chris Walberg's goals in widening his rows was to add species diversity and a grazing program to his operation. This further highlights the advice from last episode, that knowing your goals with cover crops and planting will affect the program that best fits your operation. While he did confirm a decreased yield, he has yet to see how having the extra forage and decreased inputs will affect his financial bottom line. Chris is “pretty happy with the biomass” produced and looks forward to it grazing well this winter. He has also seen the added benefit of weed suppression with the additional growth of his cover crops. Both Joe and Chris had very little issue with harvesting and remarked on the harvest ease.

“If you can get a cash crop growing full season and still have a cover crop out there, I just think it's a win in all different aspects with the biology and stuff in the soil.” - Tyler Zimmerman

Tyler has not seen a financial gain at the moment but he does see the long term benefits with better soil health and will continue to make adjustments to hopefully achieve that. All of our producers are encouraged by the immediate results and plan on making future adjustments to continue to finetune the practice to their individual operations.

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

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