Cropping Systems

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Producers and Researchers Collaborate to Improve Soil Health in North Dakota

Soil—and whole farms—have been renewed through soil-improving practices like cover crops and no till. In the semiarid plains of western North Dakota, a team of producers and researchers are working to boost soil health for improved yield stability, farm income, and natural resource health of farms. The Southwest North Dakota Soil Health Project is a […]

Enhancing Crop Yield Through Wild Pollinators

In this journal article, SARE-supported research provides a general framework and examples of approaches for enhancing pollinator richness and abundance, quantity and quality of pollen on stigmas, crop yield, and farmers’ profit, including some benefits detected only through long-term monitoring. The authors argue for integrating the promotion of wild-insect species richness with single-species management to benefit farmers and society.

Crop Rotation

Crop rotation is the ancient practice of growing a wide variety of crops in a sequential system throughout a field in order to avoid a buildup of disease and pests. Strategic crop rotations can help producers promote good soil health by alternating crops with different nutrient needs and benefit overall soil structure by breaking up subsoil by alternating deep and shallow rooting plants.  NCR-SARE supports research and education projects that study the applications of crop rotation-including improving soil quality and health, and managing pests, diseases, and weeds.

Cover Crops

Cover crops can slow erosion, improve soil, smother weeds, enhance nutrient and moisture availability, help control many pests, and bring a host of other benefits to farms across the country. NCR-SARE has supported projects by researchers, producers, and educators who are using this time-tested method of revitalizing soil, curbing erosion, and managing pests.

Women Caring for the Land: Cover Crops Booklet

Women landowners say that they want their family farms to remain healthy and productive for future generations. But many feel they don't have all the information they need to protect their land. This booklet introduces cover crops as an option, one of the simplest techniques to try with the most visible benefits. 

Women Caring for the Land: Improving Conservation Outreach to Female Non-Operator Farmland Owners Curriculum Manual

With the help of an NCR-SARE Research and Education Grant and funding from other sources, WFAN developed an award winning curriculum called Women Caring for the LandSM (WCL), which is designed to serve female non-operator landowners who are interested in learning more about conservation and other land management topics. The materials are also appropriate to teach youth about sustainable agriculture through hands-on conservation activity lesson plans.

SARE Cover Crops Webinars

As part of the Missouri SARE State Program, Debi Kelly hosted two webinars on Cover Crops in fall 2012. Presenters included Charles Ellis, a Natural Resource Engineer with the Lincoln County University of Missouri Extension Center, and Rich Hoormann, an Agronomy Specialist with Montgomery County University of Missouri Extension Center. 

Video: Cover Crop SmartMix Calculator

SARE grantees and brothers, Keith and Brian Berns, have a cover-crop seed business, and have created a SmartMix Calculator, an online spreadsheet that calculates seed quantities and cost, carbon-to-nitrogen ratio (C:N), nitrogen-fixation potential and other factors for mixes of nearly 40 cover-crop species, including legumes, brassicas, grasses and broadleaf crops.

Dakota Farmer's Success Catches On

Dan Forgey has always had an abiding respect for the land that he has farmed for more than 40 years, which is why, as manager of the 8,500-acre Cronin Farms in Gettysburg, S.D., he strives to build soil health—and yields—sustainably. First, he shifted the farm to 100 percent no-till in 1993, around the time that […]

Integrated Weed Management - One Year's Seeding

Weed biology and ecology can help every farmer become a better weed manager. This guide is the result of a series of winter meetings attended by Michigan farmers, MSU Extension agents and research scientists. It brings together field-tested experience from successful growers and Extension agents and insights distilled from more than 50 years of weed science research.