'Traditional farmer' becomes conservation winner

Dyle Erickson checks out the soil quality in a field. He says his use of no-till farming and the planting of cover crops is helping to transform his soil.

It took several years before Dyle and Barb Erickson went ahead and tried adopting cover crops and transitioned to no-till for their soybeans. But now that they have, they are seeing more and more positive results each time they are in the field.
“This has made farming exciting again to me…..that desire to learn and try things,” Dyle said.
“I’ve noticed no difference in yields. There’s a lot of focus on yields, but I like to look at profitability. When comparing no-till with cover crops versus conventional tillage, I’d say at worse I’m breaking even when comparing the two systems. The most important aspect is it’s improving the soil structure and making the fields sustainable,” Erickson said.
Erickson said it costs less because he doesn’t have to rip the field, a process that takes an entire day for 80 acres. Without having to rip, maybe he doesn’t need as powerful a tractor. He doesn’t have to cultivate in the spring, saving another trip across the field. He’s getting better weed control (cereal rye suppresses weeds) because the cover crop prevents the sun from hitting the weeds to germinate.
Read the full article along with all the local conservation winners and photos in a special section of this week's Humboldt Independent.

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