Healthy Soils Suppress Pets
Farmers who improve soil health increase the amount of soil carbon being stored, and recycled. The increased carbon flow increases microbial numbers and efficiency leading to improved plant photosynthesis. The entire soil ecosystem functions at a higher level.

Stop Tilling to Improve Soil Health

No-tilling corn is a difficult transition for most farmers. When farmers start no-tilling, the transition time may last 3-7 years and corn yields may often be reduced during that transition period. An alternative is to strip till the soil which gives a farmer some of the benefits of each tillage system.

Reducing Soil Compaction

Indian Summer is here with warmer temperatures and some sunlight as farmers try to finish up harvest. A lot of field work is being done including deep and shallow tillage.

Corn and Soybean Cover Crop Management

As fall harvest progresses, farmers are looking ahead to next years crop. Corn and soybean farmers utilizing no-till and/or cover crops may need to make different management decisions than conventional tillage farmers.

The Smell of Rain and Microbes

After a dry summer, the smell of rain is often refreshing but maybe a little less so to farmers at harvest time! People can often sense it is going to rain. This pre-rain smell comes from ozone formed when oxygen (O2) in the atmosphere is spilt through electrical charges in the clouds to form ozone (O3).

Breaking Through to the Root Cause of Compacted Soil

Jim Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services discusses how to use soil health and cover crops to improve soil structure and reduce soil compaction.

Soil Health Indicators

How do I know if my soil is healthy and what are indicators of soil health ? Plants thrive in healthy soils and are not overtaken by pests (weeds, insects, diseases).

Planting Cover Crops Late

As harvest progresses, its not too late to plant cover crops, but the options are becoming more limited. Most cover crops need a minimum of 60 days of growth before cold freezing winter weather limits growth.

Ohio No-Till News

The Ohio No-till Conference will be held December 3rd at the Der Dutchman in Plain City.  Jim Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services will speak for 30 minutes on Vole Control.  In person participation is limited to 150 people, but the program will also be offered virtually on the web.

Cover Crops Enhance Soil Health

Fall harvest has started but farmers also need to think about planting cover crops. USDA-SARE publication (10 Ways Cover Crops Enhance Soil Health) states "Cover crops lead to better soil health and potentially better farm profits."Here is a 10-point summary.

Reducing Nitrogen Runoff

After a dry summer, reduced corn yields generally results in excess soil nitrogen (N) and excess N leaching in the fall, winter, and spring. Most farmers fertilize for maximum yields and hope that the weather cooperates.

Maximizing Wheat Production

Achieving higher grain yields requires a combination of good genetics with a good environment. The full genetic potential of many crops is severely limited by poor environmental conditions especially due to poor soil structure, too much or too little water, and the availability of essential nutrients.

Cover Crop Economics

Many farmers ask what is the value of planting cover crops on my farm? A common question with many answers. Cover crops have many benefits and uses, so the answer varies by farm field and farming operation.

Vegetation and Reproductive Plant Growth

As summer winds down, gardeners and farmers are harvesting their crops. The dry weather has reduced yields but crops have a higher sugar content due to the concentration of plant sugars from less water.

Sowing Cover Crops

Late summer and early fall (August 1-Mid-September) is a great time to sow cover crops. Methods include broadcasting with an airplane, helicopter, high boy applicator, various types of spreaders OR seed incorporation with light tillage or a drill.

Lenawee Center for Excellence (Adrian MI) Twilight Tour September 2, 2020

The 2020 Field Day for the Lenawee Center for Excellence in Adrian bas been replaced with a twilight tour Sept. 2, from 4:30 p.m. and run until 7:30. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the tour will limit attendance to 100 participants.

Promoting Beneficial Insects

There are numerous beneficial insect species in the USA including 91,000 species of beetles (Order:Coleoptera), and many Hymenoptera or species of wasp (4,000), bees (4,000), and ants (1,000).

Vole Alert

Farmers are reporting crop damage from voles (field mice). Oval bare patches and burrows in soybeans or wheat fields indicate voles are present. Vole populations peak every 2-5 years.

Soil Health Principles
There are several natural principles that apply to implementing good soil health. These include minimizing soil disturbance, and maximizing the following: surface cover, live roots, and biological soil diversity.

Late Summer Early Fall Cover Crops
Late summer and early fall are great opportunities to plant cover crops and improve soil health. Days are shorter, but with ample sunshine left and a little rain, cover crops grow quickly. Both summer annuals which die with the first frost and winter annuals can be grown.

What is Soil Health
Soil Health is a term that everyone seems to be confused about or have their own opinion. Soil health is about three things: soil organic matter (SOM), soil microbes and organisms, and plants. Good soil and soil health are dependent upon the interaction of these three things.

Phases of Water
Rainfall has been quite variable with some crops looking good while other areas still need rain. Corn yields will vary this year depending upon emergence, corn stands, and the weather. As Joe Nester says: Do not over estimate your corn yields.