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Indiana grower uses cover crops to farm more economically

DSCN2164Mark Kingma says cover crops help his farm’s productivity.  The northern Indiana grower says that in six years of adding cover crops, the growth of organic matter in his soil has doubled.

“Organic matter is not the main indicator of soil health, but everybody knows it adds a lot of nutrients as well as nitrogen that’s available to the crop,” Kingma told Brownfield Ag News during Commodity Classic in New Orleans.  “It’s a big thing that helps you farm more economically.”

Kingma was getting some cost share on a few acres, but wanted to expand cover crops to about 80 percent of what he farms.  He says that when everything is taken into account, cover crops cost nothing.

“We can use less fertilizer, virtually no tillage whatsoever, other than what it takes to get the cover crop in the ground and clean the path for the seed opener with the planter,” he said.  “That’s all the tillage, all the steel that hits the ground in our fields.”

Kingma refers to cover crops as a win-win in his farming operation.

AUDIO: Mark Kingma (8 min. MP3)

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