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Improving Soil Health in 60-inch Rows of No-till Corn Inter-seeded with Cover Crops

Feb 02, 2023

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Video: Improving Soil Health in 60-inch Rows of No-till Corn Inter-seeded with Cover Crops

Join us as we visit Luke Bergler’s farm outside of Ridgeway, Minnesota and see first hand how inter-seeded cover crops are improving his profitability and soil health, while simultaneously feeding the soil biology.

Luke has had great success interseeding diverse cover crop mixes into V2-V4 corn. He then grazes the biomass and corn stalks with his cow herd after combining in the fall. Luke has been adopting the soil health principles over the past several years and prioritizes armoring the soil, minimizing disturbance, incorporating livestock grazing, increasing diversity and having live roots 24/7.

Come along as Lance Klessig, Resource Specialist for the Winona County SWCD, walks us through the history of Luke’s journey into using cover crops and the “Why” behind using wide row corn interseeding. This video also showcases the equipment being used and additionally takes a close up look at the soils and soil life on this southeastern Minnesota farm.

Luke’s soil have been significantly improving regarding increased water infiltration rates, darker color and more biologic activity, better soil structure and improved organic matter percentages. He’s also observed major increases in earthworm counts which is a great indicator of healthy soil.

This farm has a solid history of planting corn and soybeans green into live cover crops, frost seeding cover crops in early spring, as well as growing diverse cover crop mixes for grazing as well as mechanical harvesting. The Bergler family have multiple farm enterprises including cattle, hogs, bees, goats, laying hens, corn, soybeans, hay, and cover crops. Luke and his family are innovators, lead by example, and farm regeneratively while building their precious topsoil.

Both Luke and Lance have become good friends with Gabe Brown, who farms outside of Bismarck, North Dakota. In June of 2019, Luke, Lance and a handful of friends spent an entire day touring Brown’s Ranch that spans 5,000 acres. They have found that networking and attending educational field days along with workshops are critical for those wanting to further journey into soil health. Later that year, they also attended a Soil Health Academy workshop with good friend, Mike Steinfeldt at Ray Archuleta’s farm in Missouri. Both guys definitely value learning, networking with like minded farmers and being willing to think outside the box.