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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


Barley for Malting Premiums and Soil Health with Dr. Dave Franzen and Anthony Thilmony

One of the things we’ve learned over the years of doing this podcast is that we love episodes that feature both a farmer and a researcher to really capture both the complexity and the practicality of farming and soil health. That’s exactly what we have today, specifically talking about barley, and the work being done to make barley a more desirable part of the rotation to build healthier soils.

Anthony Thilmony is a 4th Generation farmer in the Valley City, North Dakota area. He has a masters in Weed Science and has worked in both research and sales before returning to the farm full time. Joining Anthony is  Dr. Dave Franzen, a Soil Scientist with North Dakota State University in Extension. Dave and Anthony talk about the advantages of barley, why it hasn’t won more acres in the past, and the research that’s being done to help farmers grow more marketable barley for malting.

“I think this is exciting because barley does have a fit with the soil conditions we have in this state. Especially as you go into this rolling territory where we have the variable soils. We have saltier soils and barley is a crop that is very agronomically acceptable, but we quit raising it because we got tired of the marketing side.” -Anthony Thilmony

For farmers like Anthony, barley used to be a common crop before corn started taking over acreage in the area. But Dave says barley still has a lot of advantages over other crops if some of the disadvantages can be mitigated, which is what his research is all about. This win-win between capitalizing on the soil health benefits of barley while still raising a quality crop that can make grade for malting premiums could allow more farmers to have their cake and eat it too.

“The overriding thing was the soil health benefits of a short season crop. And it certainly did that. We could grow a ton of dry matter or so after barley compared to a few hundred pounds in the corn and soybeans. So if you're wanting to draw down on the water in a system so that you don't get salts, you mitigate salts so that you can get in there a little bit earlier in the springtime, the barley is probably part of that.” -Dr. Dave Franzen

This Week on Soil Sense:

  • Meet Anthony Thilmony, a fourth generation North Dakota farmer, and Dr. Dave Franzen, a Soil Scientist with North Dakota State University in Extension
  • Discover the historical context and future potential for the use of the barley in North Dakota operations

Connect with Soil Sense

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

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