Soil health practices Reduced equipment and fertilizer costs


The benefits to soil health are plentiful and we all discuss them on the HAT Soil Health podcast available at For this most recent episode, we recorded live on stage at the recent Indiana Farm Equipment & Technology Expo at Grand Park in Westfield. One of the guests was Madison County farmer Mike Shuter, who explains how he got to using soil health practices like no-till.

“You look back to the early 80s and things weren’t very good then. It gave us a chance to grow crops and not have all the expense of equipment that we have now. That’s kind of what started and then we started to see the benefits of no-till when we could hit the ground faster after a rain.

And that’s not the only advantage. Shuter said, “We really liked what we saw of better emergence, better growth, early growth, and then we started to learn more about aspects of soil health. We started cover crops probably 10 years ago now. I’ve had a lot of discussions with a lot of different producers around and that’s the thing we need to emphasize – I have friends all over the state who do a lot of the same things that we do that we share a lot of things. in both ways. This is how this whole system will develop.

Shuter says that after learning all the benefits, he doesn’t want to go out to his field and kill all of his little friends who bring in the nutrients by tilling the soil.

“We have been able to cut our fertilizer use at least in half and we are not losing soil fertility. Last year I had our agronomist take a soil sample, split it in half, and he took half to send it to the lab where they totally destroyed this sample and found all the nutrients in this soil and compared this to what we see in a regular, normal soil test. That’s three or four times the amount of nutrients that we can use in this soil that isn’t necessarily available in a tillage system because we don’t have the microbiology to get those nutrients and get them. bring it to the plant for us. “

The HAT Soil Health Podcast also features farmer Andrew Bernzott, who recently started growing on his own in Fayette County using soil health practices, and Purdue Extension corn specialist Dan Quinn. Listen to the podcast now below or watch the archived video from the Indiana Farm Equipment & Technology Expo above.


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