Considering the incredibly wet spring in 2019 and the unusually cold spring in 2020, producers have had a hard enough time getting their primary cash crops planted. That’s not enough to scare John Wallbrown, VP of Finance for Deerfield Ag Services and co-owner of Deerfield Farms, away from some supplemental planting with the goal of improving soil health. For over a decade, Deerfield Farms has experimented with the use of cover crops as a soil conservation tool, with the intent to use their experience to help customers reach their own production goals.
“Our ability to use our farm as a testing ground for cover crops and other innovative practices gives Deerfield Ag Services a unique advantage,” said Wallbrown. “The lessons we learn on our farm allow us to make better recommendations and better serve our ag service customers.” Deerfield Farms recently purchased a dry product application system, which will provide the ability to establish a cover crop in full height corn, an objective only possible through specialized equipment.
Deerfield Ag Services and Deerfield Farms have teamed up with the Soil Health Partnership, a farmer-led initiative of the National Corn Growers Association, with the goal of improving soil health. Since becoming involved with the Soil Health Partnership in 2015, Deerfield Farms has begun more intensive work on its research plots, including the use of a variety of cover crops and tillage practices.
“Working with the Soil Health Partnership has given us the opportunity to test new practices and access data from other farms involved in the partnership,” said Wallbrown. “Now we can see what works in plots across the country.”
Farmers everywhere are in a constant battle against erosion, a force that not only threatens water quality, but also production and profitability. Deerfield Ag Services has set out to provide its customers with the best defense against this persistent opponent. As a retailer of Soil First® Premium Cover Crop Seed, Deerfield Ag Services works with farmers to develop the best recipe for success when it comes to cover crops. Whether the goal is to mitigate erosion and runoff or to use less fertilizer and tillage, there is a cover crop available to do the job.
Wallbrown believes that cover crops are going to play a significant role in the future of Deerfield Farms and Deerfield Ag Services. “As we continue to grow toward these more sustainable practices, we’re finding that the economics of cover crops are working in our favor.”