Retaining Moisture in Sandy Soil

Many producers have converted to no-till, and now progressive farmers are learning to cover crop to keep soil covered after harvesting a cash crop. Ryan Speer is such a producer. He farms in central Kansas along the Arkansas River south of Halstead. He grows corn, soybeans, wheat and milo, in sandy soil poor at retaining moisture. Ryan started cover-cropping in 2007. By improving the biological material in his soil, more moisture is being stored from precipitation events.

Listen Now >>

Producer Finds Cover Crops Provide Forage and Improve Soil

The Thompson Farm and Ranch straddles the Kansas-Nebraska line. Drought in this region is entering its fourth year. The Thompson family uses no-till practices to grow dryland wheat and corn and also run cows. They went no-till in 2000 and several years ago started using cover crops, instead of continuing to leave a field fallow. The first cover crop surpassed their expectations — providing forage for cattle and improving the soil.

Listen Now >>

Choosing the Right Cover Crop

Improving the health and quality of the soil can increase crop productivity, hence profitability, while benefitting wildlife and improving the environment. Planting cover crops — ground cover often consisting of a variety of plants — following harvest of the cash-crop, creates a forage base that can be utilized by the producer while increasing organic matter, soil nutrients and water infiltration.

Listen Now >>

Soil Health Practices Benefit Playas

Buffered playa in Nebraska

Playa wetlands benefit from practices that result in good soil health. The Natural Resources Conservation Service says there are four principles to improving soil health: 1) keep soil covered as much as possible; 2) disturb the soil as little as possible; 3) keep plants growing throughout the year to feed the soil; and 4) diversify as much as possible using crop rotation and cover crops.

Listen Now >>