How to Till Improves Your Land Value
The landowner-tenant relationship will be forever fraught. 19th-Century humorist Ambrose Bierce once wrote that Ireland was fairly divided between tenants and landowners. Tenants, Bierce wrote, “have all the ire, while they (landowners) have all the land.”

Vole preferences
Voles prefer the most high protein and low fiber cover crops like red clover >alfalfa>hairy vetch>soybeans.  They dislike the most canola>barley>cereal rye>Sorghum Sudan>Turnips. Low growing cover crops offer less shelter than high growing cover crops.  Mowing cover crops or planting cover crops with at least 50% winter kill may help reduce vole populations.

Biology of Soil Compaction Leading Edge

Cover Crops Field Guide, 2nd Edition

This guide will help you effectively select, grow, and use cover crops in your farming systems.  Producers who want to prevent soil erosion, improve nutrient cycling, sustain their soils, and protect the environment are learning how to plant cover crops.  This reference guide is meant for the North Central Region in the USA.

An assessment of in-field nutrient best management practices for agricultural crop systems with subsurface drainage.
Conservation practices that reduce nutrient runoff and sediment are highlighted in this journal article.  Jim Hoorman was the main author on the cover crops and no-till section but was overruled on several comments by the other authors.  As a government employee at the time, I did my best however as an independent consultant, I will do better.

Integrating Cover Crops into Soybeans: Challenges for the North Central Region
This 30-page article interviews both conventional farmers and farmers using no-till and cover crops and the challenges they face making their tillage system work in the North Central Region.

Converting to No-till using Cover Crops
In the Crops and Soil article (pg 9-13) in Nov/Dec 2013, the authors discuss how cover crops make the transition to no-till occur faster due to the improvement in soil structure, soil porosity, and aggregate formation due to live roots.

A Farmer Survey of P Issues
A total of 133 farmers were surveyed at the Conservation Tillage Conference in 2013 about P issues including management, knowledge, and attitudes. Farmers reported that 72% believe P is an issue in Ohio. Farmer knowledge was low with only 12% knowing when to stop applying P fertilizer.  P fertilizer is mainly applied in the fall (47%) and spring (41%) with 32% reporting the broadcast of P fertilizer.

Eco Farming: Improving Nutrient Efficiency
Ecological of ECO Farming works with Mother Nature to improve soil productivity and nutrient efficiency while protecting the environment.  ECO Farming allows Mother Nature to recycle soil nutrients for plant production and only uses other agricultural inputs (fertilizer, pesticides, fuel, equipment, labor) as needed to maximize crop production.  ECO Farming is based on three major assumptions.  Read this article to find out how ECO Farming improves nutrient efficiency.

Using Ecological (ECO Farming) Systems to Suppress Agricultural Pests
Weeds, insects, and diseases annually cost farmers 30% of their crop and this percentage of crop destruction has held fairly constant since the 1940s (Altieri et al., 2005). By promoting a healthy soil ecosystem that more closely resembles the natural soil ecosystem, many pests are kept in balance and the economic impacts of these pests are greatly reduced.

Ohio Phosphorus Research and the Role of Cover Crops and No-till
In phosphorus (P) speciation studies in Northwest Ohio, inorganic P (mineral P) ions like  calcium, magnesium, iron (Fe2+, Fe3+), and aluminum all tie up P in an inorganic form but iron under saturated soil conditions and a lack of oxygen converts from Fe3+ to Fe2+, releasing soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP). This is causing eutrophication or excess cyanobacteria growth in Grand Lake St Marys and Lake Erie.  Cover crops and long term no-till (Ecological or ECO Farming) improve water infiltration and water storage, and allows SRP to be absorbed to inorganic minerals that are coated with soil organic matter to stabilize the phosphorus in a form that is less likely to be lost from the soil profile.  Using an ecological system of practices (ECO Farming) improves nutrient recycling, nutrient efficiency, and results in less water and nutrient runoff to Ohio surface waters.

ECO Farming in the 21st Century: Improving Farm Profitability and the Environment
Ecological or ECO Farming works with natural processes to improve soil productivity; improves nutrient efficiency, and protects and enhances the soil environment.   ECO Farming allows natural processes like soil microorganisms and soil fauna to recycle soil nutrients for plant production and uses other agricultural inputs (fertilizer, pesticides, fuel, equipment, labor) as needed to maximize crop production. ECO Farming is a new concept that employs current best conservation management practices to increase carbon sequestration, improve biodiversity, and improves the soil environment so that crop production efficiency and crop yields may be maximized economically.

Soil Health Educational Resources
Three soil health educational demonstrations are outline. Demonstrations one outlines two educational cover crop seed displays, including the advantages and disadvantages. Demonstration two shows how to construct and grow a cover crop root and shoot display. Demonstration three offers several soil health websites, bulletins and books, and videos on growing and managing cover crops.

Three Soil Demonstrations
Three soil demonstrations show how soil organic matter increases water holding capacity, improves soil structure, and increases nutrient retention. Exercise one uses clay bricks and sponges to represent mineral soils and soil organic matter and how soil water is retained. Exercise two demonstrates how soil organic matter cushions the soil to resist soil compaction and improves soil structure. Exercise three uses marbles to represent how soil nutrients are retained by soil organic matter.