Year end wrap-up

2014 was a good year on the conservation front. Our third season of cover crops and a new wood-chip bio-reactor installed a year ago are reducing the nitrates our tile water puts into the Four Mile Creek watershed. (For an interesting interchange on the reporting of nitrates in Iowa agriculture, read the article about Dan Charles and Sarah Carlson. This article sheds light on the nitrate problem in the Midwest.) For more on the effect of excess nitrogen and phosphorus in our watersheds, read this report from Science Daily magazine. It’s not only about the water we drink, the wildlife, or Gulf hypoxia. In addition, we were able to make progress with renewable power generation for our home. We made 2,242.3 kWh in 2014  from our 6-panel PV array.

oatstillageradishes_11012014

My 3rd year of cover crop. We aerial seeded oats and tillage radishes into standing soybeans on September 3, 2014. This growth is on November 1, 2014. You can clearly see the corn stubble from 2013, the bean stubble from 2014 and the 2-month cover crop growth.

tillageradishes_11012014

I pulled 3 tillage radishes on November 1, 2014 to check on their growth. This photo shows some of the best growth on the farm. Some areas seemed to have better crop growth than others. In addition, the pilot clearly skipped some areas, because there is no cover crop at all in a couple of places.

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