Illinois farmer paves road to profit with soil health
Published: April 5, 2019
Category: Non-GMO Trend, The Organic & Non-GMO Report Newsletter
It takes courage to change a farming mindset. Illinois farmers Derek Martin and Adam York have heeded the wisdom of agronomist Brad Hobrock, and are discovering that attention to soil health, instead of relying on nitrogen/phosphorus/potassium inputs (NPK), is the long-term key to profitability.
Derek has “refurbished” 6,000 acres, weaning from a steady NPK diet and embracing nutrient management, biologicals, and cover crops. Today 100 percent of his land benefits from biological formulas—helping to capture and utilize nutrients. Martin’s nitrogen use has decreased dramatically; he’s eliminated phosphorus and potassium without sacrificing yields. He transformed an unfarmable 40-acre wetland into “some of our best ground” using cover crops and biologicals. “We now spend less on our farm, yet have either maintained or increased yield everywhere,” Derek said.
Hobrock co-owns AgriBio Systems, and Martin is now making biological brews for the company.
Adam York used to “throw the kitchen sink” at his 10,000 corn and soy acres—fertilizers, insecticides, seed treatments, chemicals, triple-staked corn—then decided to try soil enhancement. He adopted compost extracts and “naked” soybeans—without fungicides or insecticides. In 2018 he reaped the highest ever soybean yields. “An operation geared toward real regenerative practices can be very profitable and that’s what is happening on our farm,” said York.
Martin recommends patience—it can take a few years to see results. The slogan “Long-term profitability is built on soil health” is becoming evident, and these farmers want to sow the good news.
Source: Farm Journal
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