Dan's Blog on Conservation:

Grazing Annuals to Improve Soil Health 8/31/18

The Conservation Cropping Systems Initiative will offer the chance to learn about improving soil quality by incorporating grazing into your row crop operation. Save the date, Sept 27, 5pm or (earlier if you want some one-on-one shovel time) at 2383 N 600 W Rochester IN. Call the SWCD for reservations 574-223-3220. Cattle will be grazing temporarily fenced warm-season annuals planted into wheat stubble.The seeding, prescribed grazing, fencing and soil health benefits will all be covered.

Harvest will probably be a couple weeks earlier than last year. You should have enough time to drill a winter grain cover crop after harvest. Secure your seed now. Call if you need a source.

The Fulton County SWCD is still taking apps for their cover crop cost share incentive program. Call Lois.


Interseeding at V5 6/8/18

In the latitudes north of the 40th parallel, inter-seeding covers into standing corn at the fifth collared leaf stage holds promise.

The Fulton SWCD is experimenting at five diverse soils locations to see if it might work here. In two locations we have or will sow plots of ladino, crimson, mediumred, yellow sweet clovers and hairy vetch.

In the others, we sowed annual ryegrass and crimson clover.

This “oldcrank” broadcasted the seed with my dad’s canvass bagged crank seeder.

I seeded one of the plots on June 1.  I checked there today and found the clovers to be sprouting.

The intention is to get a crop started under the canopy ready to pop after the cash crop dries down and allows light back to the soil surface. We learned last year that early corn with an upright leaf configuration will allow more light onto the surface earlier than a later down cast variety.

Herbicides are the biggest limitation. Residuals are being used more frequently these days to control glyphosate resistant weeds. They’re usually active, depending on the rate, at the V5 leaf stage which precludes inter-seeding. We have a variety of areas sown so we’ll be able to relate what we’ve found.

If you are new at cover cropping, the Fulton SWCD will help you offset some risks. Contact Lois Mann 574-223-3220.

Lessons 4/16/18

Lessons learned the hard way are not easy nor cheap.

The difference in the success of aerially applied annual ryegrass cover crop in a field with two different corn maturities is stark. The annual ryegrass is green and flush in the earlier corn and not present in the later corn.

Conclusion:The leaves of the early variety died back allowing more light to reach the sprouted annual ryegrass. The dense coverage of the long season corn variety did not allow sunlight to penetrate to ground level. The annual ryegrass sprouted and died.

Lesson: concentrate your aerial seeding on your earlier corn varieties and choose your corn variety numbers based on maturity and leaf configuration where you want to aerially seed cover crops.


Acting Gig  4.2.18

In additionto my role as District Conservationist (DC) for Fulton County, as of April 1,2018, I am acting District Conservationist for Miami County – until further notice.

Acting is not a new gig for me. I’ve acted in every county sharing some border with Fulton county except Wabash, plus White.

Miami County has been without a permanent DC for over 18 months. I have no idea when the job might be filled.

In the meantime, we’ll carry on.

If you need to talk to me, please call the respective office and set an appointment. Call Lois in Rochester at 574-223-3220 or Mary Lou in Peru at 765-473-6753.

Plant it   2/16/18

Because of the late harvest last year, a lot of cover crops didn’t get planted. Depending on how its stored and its origin, the seed may not germinate well if its left in the bag or hopper for another year.

You can leave it stored, or…you can sow it this spring. No, it won’t do as much good as it would have if you got it on last September. But if you get it on soon, it will give you about 60 days of growth -feeding soil organism, trapping nutrients, improving organic matter and infiltration, controlling erosion, etc. 

Spring planted wheat, cereal rye and triticale and fall barley will typically not set a seed head. These plants need to vernalize, that is –“chill”- to trigger flowering.

The up side when spring planted is, you don’t have to worry about the plant going to seed and the growth will not be as aggressive. The downside is, the plant won’t go to seed and growth will not be very aggressive.

If you have the choice between leaving your cover crop in a bag or bin where it won’t do you any good or planting it for some good, the choice is obvious.

Plant it - as soon as you can get it on. Call if we can help.


Fulton County’s ag producers who want to address resource concerns on their ag lands are encouraged to sign up for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) through USDA-NRCS at 1252 E 100 S Rochester, IN.

Dan Rosswurm, District Conservationist, announced applications will be taken for 2018 through December 15, 2017. “While we take EQIP applications all year, apps received after December 15 will be considered in later rounds. I encourage producers with resource concerns on their lands to submit applications by the deadline.”

EQIP is a voluntary conservation program. Through EQIP, the Natural Resources Conservation Service provides financial and technical assistance to install practices which reduce soil erosion/sedimentation, improve soil health, water and air quality and create wildlife and pollinator habitat.

Contact Rosswurm at the office phone 574-223-3220, mobile phone 317-373-2331 or email dan.rosswurm@in.usda.gov



Fulton County SWCD  (574) 223-3220 ext. 3