CTIC’s 2017 Conservation in Action Tour brought us back home to Indiana, where we saw how conservation agriculture has advanced over the last ten years and explored where it’s headed.
Farmers, researchers, policy makers, crop consultants, association leaders and more came together to get a front row view of conservation farming systems in central Indiana.
CTIC visited four different farms who are putting conservation into action.
Here’s what we saw:
• Dan DeSutter, Attica, Indiana
Dan DeSutter has a diversified operation that utilizes cash crops, cover crops and livestock to build soil health and ultimately build the bottom line. His stop also featured a rainfall simulator to demonstrate erosion control. The demonstration was provied by Scott McAfee, Stan Livingston and Chi-hua Huang from the National Soil Erosion Research Laboratory.
• Tim and Clayton Muller, Oxford, Indiana
Tim and Clayton Muller demonstrated their drainage water management system with control structures. Their system minimizes off-farm nutrient flow and we learned how their farm is part of a local effort to improve water quality. At the Muller Farm, we also heard from a panel of experts that gave us an overview of the Big Pine Creek Watershed project.
• Josh Cox, Lafayette, Indiana
Josh Cox demonstrated how he grazes cover crops to improve soil health and optimize nutrient use efficiency at his operation, Wildcat Valley Farms. We heard from experts who explained how to transition to a soil health system and how grazing fits into the bigger picture when it comes to cropping systems.
• Purdue University Dairy, West Lafayette, Indiana
Here we saw a commercial dairy that has closed the loop of its manure management, utilizing all manure on the farm while protecting water quality. The dairy is also home to research on animal care, feed rations, and herd management. We saw how nutrient recycling, manure lagoons, and irrigation can be both beneficial and educational. Researchers also shared a glimpse into the best practices for her and dairy management and different research projects.