Scott Field Day Showcases Cover Crop Success

Monday, September 26, 2016 - 12:29pm

This September, the Scott Family Farm opened their operations to approximately 100 interested individuals. The Field Day highlighted conservation farming practices, especially cover crops and no-till planting.

Amongst bright green plants, and the hum of pollinators, Jamie Scott explained that his family has been utilizing a three crop system, along with cover crops to increase his farm’s productivity and longevity 10 years ago.

Ultimately, these practices have increased their yields and led to a more productive operation for now, and the future. After their own success, the Scotts began their own operation of helping other producers utilize cover crops. They have been able to create several different “cocktail mixes” of 12 to 18 different plant seeds ranging from sun hemp to oats and even sunflowers. Combined, these plants that grow in the off season help put nutrients back into the soil, increase biodiversity on their land and in the soil, and help with water management and pest control.

Keeping roots in the ground is not only beneficial to the land’s health. Water that could run off of fields during rain events carrying excess sediment and nutrition into waterways like streams and lakes is instead encouraged by the continuous roots to percolate and move through the water table, building moisture in the soil while decreasing the loss of beneficial topsoil.

Attendees also heard from Blake Vince, who has dedicated his time to sharing his experience with cover crops and how ultimately they save money and protect his land’s legacy for the future.  Vince is a fifth generation farmer from Southwestern Ontario focused on soil health and water management. H  is a director for the Innovative Farmers Association of Ontario and is also a Rotarian with the Rotary Club of Chatham Sunrise.

Vince shared that not only does he experience the benefits of cover crops, but that another main motivator for him is water health for his family. By utilizing farming best practices, Vince’s soil acts as a natural filter for water before it reaches his drinking water and lakes. He shared pictures of Lake Erie’s recent algae blooms as a reminder of the delicate and important relationship between soil and water health. For more information on soil health or to learn more about available assistance to landowners, contact the Kosciusko or Whitley County Soil and Water Conservation Districts, or The Watershed Foundation. Any landowner, no matter the size of their property, no matter if the property is in the city or the country, can help improve soil health. To learn simple steps to improve your own soils health,  visit http://indiana.clearchoicescleanwater.org/soils.