Monthly Soil Health Podcasts are produced in partnership with Hoosier Ag Today. These podcasts focus upon a variety of soil health practices and topics. Most feature conversations with an expert farmer and an ag professional. In addition to the HAT website, you can subscribe to the podcast on the following platforms:
Supplemental print-ready articles are available for download as well as shorter MSWord versions suitable for adaptation for newsletters and/or local media outlets.
April 2019 – Combating Climate and Erosion with Cover Crops
Weather and field conditions through Winter and Spring of 2019 have led to serious erosion problems across the Midwest. NE Indiana/NW Ohio farmer Allen Dean and Indiana Ag Nutrient Alliance Executive Director Ben Wicker discuss how fields seeded to cover crops have fared much better than those without protective cover. Because these weather patterns are expected to continue or worsen in coming years, it is important to armor fields and improve soil stability and water infiltration with soil health practices.
March 2019 – Do You Need Neonicotinoid Treated Seed?
Featuring John Tooker, Penn State Associate Professor of Entomology, this podcast focuses upon the explosion of neonicotinoid-treated seed use and its unintended consequences: “The more insecticide you use, the fewer predators will be around and there is this kind of weird feedback – if you have fewer predators around, you will likely need more insecticides.” Potential problems include increased slug damage to crops due to impacts on slug predators.
February 2019 – Good Data Drives Success
Recorded at the 2019 Commodity Classic, Williamsport, IN farmer Rick Clark, who was honored as the 2019 Northeast Region American Soybean Association Conservation Legacy Award recipient, shares his insights into managing 7,000 acres in a 100% no-till, 100% cover crop system. “Every rig you have is collecting data, and we have to know what to do with it. Good data leads to good decisions. When you collect the data, and you make your decisions off that data, you then become a low-cost input producer, which is what we are. That then puts you in a position of strength.”
January 2019 – Building on a Family Legacy
Farming next to St. Mary’s river on the land his great, great grandfather settled in 1847, Decatur, Indiana farmer Mike Werling takes special pride in the way his system has restored biodiversity and is even reclaiming clay knobs that were a result of generations of farming practices. Werling and Indiana USDA-NRCS Soil Health Specialist Stephanie McLain discuss how his soils behave under a long term system, an earthworm work force, and why patchy cover crops can be beneficial.
December 2018 – Soil Health Payback – Minimizing Risks and Reaping Rewards
Arcadia, Indiana farmer Rodney Rulon and his cousins base cropping systems changes for their 6000-acre farm on data-driven decisions. They have found that more often than not, the best economic decision and the best conservation decision go hand in hand. Rulon and Indiana USDA-NRCS State Conservationist Jerry Raynor discuss changes in organic matter, and how programs like those offered through NRCS can provide assistance to get started.
November 2018 – Manures in a Soil Health System
Gordon Smiley farms approximately 1200 acres with his brother Jeff near Greensburg, Indiana, including a swine operation. They use a combination of no-till, cover crops, and carefully managed manure applications to improve the productivity of their cropland. Smiley and consultant Kristin Whittington, owner of Landmark Enterprises, talk about their fertility program, including how cover crops take up nutrients from manure applications for later release to cash crops.
September 2018 – Fall Emerged Weeds and Cover Crops
Over the past 40+ years, Knox County Indiana Farmer Mike Brocksmith has developed skill sets critical to weed control in no-till systems. These days, cover crops play a significant role in controlling fall-emerged weeds, such as Marestail. Brocksmith and agronomist Betsy Bower of Ceres Solutions talk about the importance of managing fall emerged weeds for successful cover crop establishment and weed control in the following crop year.
August 2018 – Soil Health and Water Quality
Putnam County Indiana farmers Mark and Phyllis Legan, along with their family, have defined stewardship as taking care of something – whether that is the land or the water or the pigs or the employees. “We are a part of our community, and we have to take care of it just like everyone else.” The Legans, along with Indiana Association of SWCDs Executive Director Joe Schmees talk about the importance of watershed protection and their investment in soil health.
July 2018 – Warm Season Cover Crops and Grazing after Wheat or Silage
Warsaw, Indiana, farmer Jamie Scott strategicallly includes wheat in his cropping rotation to maximize cover crop growth. Because of that balance and diversity, he sees an immediate positive change in soil function and feels adding a grazing component will further increase those changes as well ROI. Indiana USDA-NRCS Grazing Specialist Susannah Hinds joins Scott to discuss cover crop mix options and planning a grazing system.