Cover Cropping For Positive Results & Positive Economics
22 Mar 2340 min 32 sec

XtremeAg member James Hepp is a first generation Iowa farmer who has been expanding his cover- cropped acres for the past three years. His motivation to continue upping his cover crop game got a shot in the arm this winter after seeing ditches filled with topsoil from the neighbor’s fall-tilled fields. James joins Integrated Ag Solutions’ Mike Evans to discuss the how, why, and when of cover cropping. He also shares the economic returns — which approach a couple hundred dollars per acre — of cover cropping.

Presented by Loveland Products with support from Agricen.

00:00 Cover crops how you can use them effectively how they can benefit your ground how they can make you money and how you can get past all 00:06 these all reasons you hear down at the Corner Diner. Well, you can't work. They can't do cover crops around here. You know, I've never 00:12 worked in this part of the world because Farmers love to say that the truth is cover crops do work. They can work. It can make you money. They can improve 00:18 your soil and you're gonna find out how in this episode of cutting the curve welcome to extreme acts cutting the 00:24 curve podcast where we cut your learning curve with insights. You can apply immediately to your farming operation. This 00:30 episode is presented by Loveland products. When it comes to crop inputs, you need products that are field proven to deliver both results and value for 00:39 more than 50 years. Loveland products has been providing Farmers with high performance value-driven product Solutions designed to maximize productivity on 00:48 every acre visit to see how their Innovative products can help you farm more profitably and now here's your host Damien Mason. 00:59 Well greetings and welcome to a fantastic and different sounding episode of Extreme Ice cutting the curve. Why 01:05 is it different because we are bringing on one of our members. His name is James Hep. He is in Iowa farm guy who reached out to me 01:11 a couple weeks ago and asked me about cover crops. And if I wanted to maybe do a little bit more in on the subject of cover crops. I said, 01:17 absolutely we need to talk more about cover crops. So James hepas here and he's with Mike Evans Evans as we 01:23 sometimes call him. My Devens is an Agronomy guy and he works alongside Kelly Garrett with integrated AG Solutions in an area in Iowa and 01:32 Evans. It turns out was kind of a helper on the cover crop program that James has Institute James has a good story 01:41 about how he came into farming. He's got some really good results some numbers. So that's what we're gonna be talking about here today James. Thanks 01:47 for being here. Thanks for having me Damien. Okay, so you're you've got a cute? Yeah a unique story real quickly and we'll 01:54 do that in a future subject. But you are not one of the usual born into farming operations. You're buying into a farming operation and you did not come from a farming 02:03 background per se. Yep, that's right. One of my best friends in high school. His dad was looking at slowing down and retiring and neither 02:11 one of his sons were interested in farming. So he wanted to know if I would maybe help him and at the time I kind of had a pretty like a crop insurance 02:20 job. I had a lot of free time during a seasonal and so I started oh wait the cover the crop insurance people right? I was saying what what hey wait man, you're upset the 02:29 apple card. Yeah, let's face it. You had a job that was about a 20 hour week job selling crop insurance. Okay, we get it. 02:35 Well, I was adjusting so it's kind of feast or famine. You know, it's 10 hours a week. Okay, ten hours a week, you know ten hour 02:41 a week job sometimes. Yeah, so I enjoyed helping other farmers and he just asked if I would be willing to help his dad out for a year and see if I liked it if it 02:50 went well it could turn into more. So I said sure why not first year went really well and then we just kind of snowballed from there and it started taking off and I 02:59 started a crop sharing with him. And then last year was my first time taking over basically all the Acres. So that's kind of I'm on here about three 03:08 going on for right now. So that first generation my dad has a repair shop. So I've been around farming and agriculture but no direct ties 03:17 to it. So got it so we can talk more about the business on that later. But today we're talking about cover crops. That's by the way. It's fascinating and that is a subject. I think we should get into more down the road 03:26 talk about cover cropping. Maybe there's a benefit that you came into it not biased by what Grandpa did maybe there's a benefit that 03:35 you Came into not biased by what 40 Years of upbringing did to you because I'm telling 03:41 you I've heard this again again. I'm cover crops that might work over there won't work here Farmers. Love to pretend that something would work in Ohio. That 03:50 wouldn't work in Wisconsin. Sometimes they're right, but sometimes it's also by Township. Well, it works over there. Like it's like three miles from here and you're pretend you that here 03:59 I've heard again again. You can't do cover crops can't do it up north don't have enough growing season. You are in Northwest, Iowa. So give me the scoop on cover cropping and how 04:08 you got into it and how it works. Well, so the guy farmed with he's he likes to try new things and he was dabbling in cover crops. So when I started farming 04:16 with them, he asked hey, do you want to try some rye so I researched a little bit and like what you said? Everybody says they don't work. Well then I got to looking online. I see 04:25 all these cover crop experts are in Minnesota and Wisconsin and last time I looked on the map that stuff was 04:31 a long ways north of me. So I was like, well, I can't that work here. And then not to mention every winter. I see all our local 04:37 ditches full of dirt from erosion and I got to think and boy that's her biggest asset just blowing away in the ditches. So I'm like I should really try something. So the first 04:46 year we tried 80 acres of soybeans planted into Rye. Um didn't really know what we were doing. Just kind of shooting from the hip worked out really good. It was a large field and 04:56 you cannot tell yield difference but the water hemp back then we were non-gmos soybeans. So we didn't have a lot of herbicide options, but there was virtually no 05:05 waterhem in the 80 acres where the Rye was. So once I seen that I thought I was kind of onto something and that's kind of where it started and I just started every year add more 05:15 and more this year. I'm about 300 acres worth the ride next year. I hope to have every acre cover crop but mainly erosion and wheat suppression was 05:24 my biggest thing. I was trying to tackle. I guess what cover crop not to mention everybody says, it can't work and everybody just rips everything really black which 05:33 probably works for everybody. But I just didn't want to do that have all the extra costs like we'll go into later. 05:39 Yeah, I won't get the money about that also Mr. Evans. And I know that Mike and I have talked about this. I'm a frustrated want to be agronomist back when I was a kid 05:49 ninth in the nation FFA soil judging in the in the Oklahoma soil judging analysis. I tell the people that James has often 05:58 as possible for street cred if you know what I'm talking about. Anyway, I started seeing this back in the 80s and I remember let's talk about the erosion thing first. I 06:07 find it asinine that right now we're paying 15 to $20,000 an acre for a piece of farm ground. And then we're gonna go out there in October and plow 06:16 it up and expose it to the elements so it can blow away all winter and you said fill the ditches. This isn't this is literally 06:25 not Dirt Cheap it is dirt expensive and You really got a question how how unwilling to change you are that you're going to pay 20 06:35 grand for an acre of something then literally go out and devalue it. That's what I would think of is that the first 06:41 thing am I thinking right Evan's soil erosions the first reason we should cover crop. 06:48 Yeah, I mean that's you know soil Health that whole gamut of soil health. 06:53 erosion all that stuff is a big deal and protecting that asset is is you know, it's a high value Asset anymore from when it was when my 07:03 dad started farming 40 years ago. So yeah, we want to protect it. We want to do everything to conserve it and help it produce for the farm. Well in 07:13 medicine Mike they say there's an old thing first Do no harm in other words, you know, you can rather than worry about fixing a broken 07:22 leg. Let's not break the leg, right? Doesn't seem like before we can get down the road of soil Health we should start with not letting the soil wash away. 07:31 I mean that's where I just go with it. And and you guys obviously are mostly no-till there at Garrett Landen cattle for 07:37 that. Very reason you guys have some slopes very pronounced slopes compared to what I'm used to and it seems to me that you 07:43 you should start with the erosion. What's that? Right? They're mountains to me. Yeah. I'm really when I first showed up and met Kelly 07:52 Garrett and the summer of 2021 out there I lived around and I said if there was I said any one of your Fields if it was in my 08:01 part of the world and Northeastern, Indiana, we just take a chairlift on it and call the resort. I mean, it's it's okay. 08:11 So we got the erosion thing that was one of your main reasons, you don't have a big sloping problem though James. So as opposed to where Garretts 08:17 are. It wasn't because of the sloping that you were worried about washed away. You still have erosion because of that's what happens when you expose your soil to the wind for six months 08:27 and rain. Yeah, yeah, that was my biggest concern even with the wind and all that. But mainly I just wanted to work on 08:35 weed control because with non-GMO my biggest thing I could use was flexstar and I'm sure everybody has plenty of good experiences with flexstar and sometimes it works. Sometimes it 08:44 don't and it was just I mean I had guys calling me saying hey how come the north side of field has zero water hemp and weeds and the other side of the field has you know normal amount 08:53 of weed like there is a line and the same variety soybeans. So I had people driving by it 40 mile an hour 08:59 notice in differences. So I guess and then on the monetary amount that's always good too to like save money and then have better performance which is kind of rare to 09:08 be able to save money and have better we suppression. Okay. So if you think about the benefits of cover cropping you 09:14 you went out there because you've been reading about it and the guy that you're operator that you're buying into say is an experimental person 09:20 not fixed in his ways and he said yeah, let's do some of this you went there and did it was what was the primary objective soil erosion 09:26 improving so biology Depression. I know you say all of them, which would give me the ranking ABC. At the time I think a would be the weeds because we were 09:36 just starting to have a lot of water hemp issues. Like a lot of guys are and then then the next one in line would be kind of 09:42 a almost like tillage. You know, like said, I was being a young farmer. I wanted to save costs on tractors and all that and I can be a lot more efficient, you know, 09:51 the roots on the ride plant will go way deeper than any piece of iron will ever go and it just seems to 09:57 help your water infiltration and all that. So that would be my next next point would just be sheer economics 10:04 saving money on equipment. I didn't need Mr. Evans. There's gonna be people to say what about the cost when you when you're making an extra trip across the 10:13 field James willingly admits. I was doing this to save money, but then I got to go out there. I gotta buy the cover crop seed that's 10:19 not free and I got to do the hours the time whether it's his man hours or higher help or whatever and then you 10:25 got the wear and tear on the machine. We plus the diesel. Can you make that back? 10:30 Yeah easily. I mean if you know where James is at? They're in central Iowa that a lot of that's flat black like he talked about. So a lot of guys do like a lot 10:40 of deep tillage. That's a disgripper. It's probably averages about 12 to 15 foot wide, you know, you're going eight 10:46 inches deep. And you're probably going five mile an hour and you're burning a ton takes a lot of horsepower which equates a lot of fuel. So there's 10:53 a lot of expense and running that Ripper across to Burke to break up that soil where you do a cover crops. Take a larger swaths. 11:03 Quicker passes smaller equipment typically and there's a lot less expense just in that those two comparisons right there. So 11:13 that would be the cost savings up front just on that alone. What about the idea of 11:21 weeds oppression we hear about it, but I never thought it was a primary objective of using cover crops. And then there was the issue 11:30 of well by the time you kill the cover crop off. You have to because to get your next crop going you're real your primary crop. You're gonna go out there and you're gonna 11:40 give opportunities for other stuff to come in to talk about the reads weed suppression stuff without just the wheat the example 11:46 you said about water hemp all that tell me a little bit about the 11:50 the reality of that or how it works agronomically. Well, I think it doesn't take a huge stand to write. I normally putting down 45 pounds to the acre just depends 12:01 on me. There's a lot of ways you can apply it but 45 pounds to the acre. I think it just is it allopathy? I think they call it with the corn isn't that 12:11 what it is like where it helps with weeds like the bigger weed seeds. They just aren't able to get through it. The Rye is 12:19 It's almost like I herbicide I guess in my soil for lack of better terms. Well, you've created kind of a layer there and protection almost. Yeah resonance. 12:28 Yeah, and it's just amazing. You create a Cavalier. You mean just you're talking about a thatch layer that is then becomes hard to permeate for weed for weeds then to germinate in 12:38 yeah, yeah create some layer there, you know, but Okay. Yeah, and they just they just don't germinate. I mean that's it's I I didn't think it would work and I was proved wrong. So that's 12:48 why I began to run with it. Yeah, by the way 45 pounds per acre to the person that and you're using right you're only cover crop 12:54 right now is right. Yeah, and that's fine. But then let's go with the other thing. You just said you're using 45 pounds per acre. Is that 13:03 a lot? Is that a little I don't know. Um, that's what we use here at Kelly's we've put on too much and that becomes a problem because 13:15 you get too bad too good of establishment and it's hard to kill. And then you find two less then you don't 13:24 get as good coverage either. So typically I think you know 40 45 pounds is pretty Camp standard least 13:30 in our geography. All right, let's talk about then the things you've learned already here in your third year second year third year of doing this Mr. 13:38 Hap. The big thing is just get out there and do it. It's kind of uncomfortable because a lot of times you really don't know what you're doing, you know, it's not traditional, you know plant spray 13:49 spray Harvest. So you gotta get out there the shovel you gotta keep an eye on it. You got to manage it. So the big thing I just keep trying stuff 13:58 take good notes and keep building on it. That's basically what I've learned and find good people to work 14:04 with like Evans and other guys that are cover cropping and see what they've done. 14:08 Do me a favor and just go ahead and walk us through the entire process. So far soybeans come off October 11th. I 14:15 don't know. I'm just gonna guess here and something like that right first week of October. 14:20 So for for my cover crop only I put it in my corn stock. So either I'll do it and standing corn with my haggy. I have an old Cedar rigged on 14:29 the haggy to plant it like in mid-august in a standing crap, or you can get an airplane. I've done it both ways. Then you 14:35 harvest the corn crop and by then you're normally got I know three inch Blades of Rye which you'll see in my photos. 14:41 I sent. Yeah, and then you just let it grow through the what winter till it freezes and gets cold that kind of goes dormant and then the springtime once it 14:50 starts warming up it takes off again. I try and plant my soybeans when it's about six to eight inches tall. It's a really great seed but it's like planting across 14:59 Turf almost and then I normally wait about two weeks and I try and get it knee-high above your knee and then I'll go out terminate it and that's kind of my steps. Okay, 15:08 like I thought you're doing it after you took the soybeans off. So that's why my question was that way by the way, if you're listening to this and most people do listen, but we have several that view. Remember the 15:17 videos are always released on Extreme egg that farm. So if you're And you're saying what's he talking about photos right now? We're putting up 15:23 photos and the Productions you can see James. James photo photographic results what he does? Okay, when you are going through there and stuff three 15:33 inches tall, aren't you tearing up? A lot of we've already seated when you are harvesting your corn doesn't a lot of what you've already seated then get 15:39 all torn to hell. Not really like on the end rows it will a little bit but then it's still early on and you have some good growing season 15:47 that kind of receipts itself so long as you don't get stuck or get crazy. I've never really seen a bunch of dead Patches from turning around or anything like that. Okay, then the 15:56 answer you just said was then you're going and planting into the soy according stalks no till and it's got It's 16:03 got cover crop Rye growing up in it and you're going through there and planting no-till 15 inch row. 30 inch row soybeans no till 30 inch row 16:13 into that and you're doing it. Usually that rye if you're planting your soybeans. into April, let's say 16:21 Yeah, I did my soybeans first normally so, you know like third week April got there and plant beans for a week 16:27 and then I'll go and it works out good for my time schedule because then I'll go and then plant corn for a week or two and get my 16:33 corn sprayed up. And then by the time I'm done with that, I'll go back to beans and terminate it and depending on the weather. I'll get my growth 16:39 that I'm wanting the growth is important. All right, so the person is listening that's gonna say wait a minute. You just told me that all that right prevents weeds 16:48 from germinating, but you're planting soybeans into this how the hell do your soybeans germinate when weeds can't germinate. How is the soybean you can't have it both ways. 16:58 That's a great question. That's what I was thinking too the first year, but they come through it. I know that you guys have a lower right 17:04 rate just for your corn. Yeah, and I've heard a lot of guys. Well, maybe do like 20 pounds or I in corn just to help with it. But I I don't know if the 17:13 soybean is just a bigger seed, you know compared to wheat seed and it has more energy to get through it. But soybeans I've 17:19 never seen an issue with emergence. I mean, it's crazy. When you do it the first time you'll think like one of my doing man, this is the craziest thing I've ever done but it 17:29 works. I don't not saying it's foolproof, but it's really worth trying and it's I don't want to say it's hard to screw up but it's worth trying you don't 17:38 listen it's hard to screw up. Okay. So what we're gonna hear a little bit more about the economics and numbers before we do that. I want our mind The Listener that you know, what right now they're sitting 17:47 at Garland and cattle in the office and it was in that very office that I was talking to Kelly Garrett a year and a half ago and he said, you know what Damian for 2022 one 17:56 of my biggest objectives is gonna be Test reduction I would think that we have way enough fertility in our soils. We have too much stress on our plants and I said really and 18:04 he said yeah, I think stress reduction and making a healthier plant as a way to go and you know what he uses products from agerson to 18:10 help make this happen. So when you think about it a healthy plant it can absorb all the nutrients you're putting out 18:16 there and unhealthy plant. It doesn't matter if it's unhealthy the nutrients do it. No good. So stress reduction is a primary objective of Garrett Atlantic 18:22 cattle it helped him ring the bell even in a very bad year because you know what 2022 was a dry year and it was that very objective 18:28 that very push to reduce stress on his plans to help him have a banner year. So agerson products can help you reduce stress to your nutrient dealer for more products that 18:37 can help you reduce stress in your crop and get big yields even in a bad year, okay. 18:43 the economics of all this before we get economics, I guess I got another question. Why wouldn't you then if this is such a cool thing? Why don't you go and put Rye 18:52 into soybean stubborn seems like that'd be even easier. You don't have to fly it on soybeans come off earlier go out there plant right first week 19:01 of October and still going to germinate and get three inches of growth. Why are you not putting soy Rye cover crop on 19:07 all your soybean Acres? With with going to Corn it's a little bit more you have to pay a little more attention to it and be more careful because you can get a 19:15 large yield drag if it's not terminated, right or if it's too thick of a stand where soybeans are. I mean I call them The Comeback Kid they they pretty 19:24 much go through anything where corn is very finicky. So like I said earlier about like Garrett and those 19:30 guys they kind of have a lower was like 20 pounds of eye and then other stuff. Yeah, they're running a blend. So so 19:36 with corn I just I didn't want to bite off more than I can chew. So I've been trying to I say master but I've been trying to get my soybean cover crop figured out 19:45 and for next year. I am starting to add cover crops into my corn Acres rotation. Yeah for them to put it in after the soybeans come off. Well, let's face it 19:54 corn stalks do a good job of protecting the soil. In fact, we have too much fodder. That's why we talk about, you know products like 20:00 Evans and I have talked about on the cutting the curve podcast about, you know, extracted about things like this that you know rot that fodder down you 20:09 soybean ground out there that sits pretty well wide open even with no tillage. So it seems to me that we would 20:15 want to get better at that. Is that your big objective? Yeah, yep. Yep. Next year. I'll be moving into that more with like a oats and a rhymexture to get 20:24 one Speaking of an oats and arrive mixture at Garland and cattle they started producing their own oats to have so 20:30 they grow a few Acres of Oats that they have their own oats to go and put on the Acres. What is your mix Mr. Evans? 20:36 What are you putting on as a cover crop? And you don't do it on all your Acres but some of your Acres what are you putting out there? 20:42 We'll put a blend of about 25 pounds of oats and about 20 pounds of rye and then we'll throw in a oh nitrogen 20:51 fixer like a hairy badge or Was the other one a clover next? Yeah, I was like else like else like white clover or something like 21:00 this. We're trying to keep things. Okay. So if you're talking about putting on those things one of the big deals of regenerative iron 21:09 culture, James book, I read dirt to soil. He talks a lot about putting out seven different kinds of cover crop because then they work in unison to 21:18 create all kinds of more sociology. You're putting out just right. When are you going to start branching out and doing three things in the mix or four things and putting in 21:27 a hairy vet or a legume like that? Hopefully this summer going into next fall is where I'm going to start adding more diversity to my mix to help 21:36 with my soil biology underground. That's my goal. I've heard I've heard too many people that start too big too fast and they have bad results and they just don't do it. 21:45 You know that might start off with seven-way mix and I didn't want to they don't want to be that guy. So that's why I kind of started simple and I'm 21:51 advancing slowly, but surely. Have you made any mistakes? Oh, yeah, every day tell us the 21:58 mistakes you've made on cover crops, right? You're not making a mistakes. You're not trying right? Yeah. Yeah, like it. You know, what an old Banker told 22:04 me if you haven't made any bad loans you missed out a lot of good ones and I always say you know, what if you if you haven't 22:10 failed you're not trying hard enough, you know what I used to think in sports if you don't get hurt once in a while, you're not pushing yourself hard enough. But 22:16 anyway, those are the old days. Tell me the mistakes you made and what you learn from as it relates to cover crops. With mistakes just applicating I think 22:25 a lot of guys including myself. We don't make it a priority in the fall and I think moving forward. It's such an important part of 22:31 my operation. It's going to be just as important as harvest or like planting a crop. So I need to move it up my 22:37 list of priorities a lot more the past. I might have been a few weeks later than what I wanted. So if I would have been sooner it would have been a lot better growth going into the winter to maybe help protect 22:46 from all the the winds. Second one would be just applicating once again, maybe getting thin spots. I've kind of used equipment that's 22:55 kind of duct tape together. So to speak to start out with and there's been times where I had patches like size of semi where it just didn't grow or the seating didn't work, which so 23:05 I've learned that better consistency along with termination too. If you don't get it terminated, it gets growing too much. It will 23:14 hurt yield. I haven't had any large scale issues but there's been areas where I missed the spot terminating with the Roundup and those beans might 23:22 And 40 bushel instead of the 60 bushel and it was because of that and I guess my last mistake or most recent one from last year was 23:31 I I've heard a lot of people say you can skip your residuals if you have a good cover crop. Well, I 23:37 was always too chicken to pull the pin and not have residuals and two years ago. I did area I did check strips and you cannot tell a difference from where I spent all 23:46 the extra money on residuals and where I didn't have it and last year right you're talking about herbicide with 23:52 the soil residual capability and you're saying that good cover crops mean that you can cut back on chemistry. 23:59 Yep. Yeah, I'm currently not running any residuals which is a large savings and so by 24:05 doing that in the past so it'll stunt your growth because like I said, I was kind of chicken to do it and so I 24:11 sprayed it and actually stunned the growth. So everywhere. I sprayed the residual the ride didn't grow near as much but where I 24:17 didn't it's like it the Rio is probably six eight inches taller. So I've learned to do not spray any residual no matter 24:23 what in the spring because you just won't get your ride just it stays green, but it doesn't grow anymore and you need to get the the 24:29 tonnage per acre. So when it does get terminated and fall over you have that nice ground cover. Yeah, so do you ever not only do you 24:38 miss it? Because your story soybeans get stunted. Do you ever have it where it gets so big then it becomes too much of a thatch and all sudden your soybean 24:44 pant plants are like crowded in there and it strangles them. It looks like it but man you get 24:51 down crawl around with your pocket and I've digging around and those beans they just come through it though. I don't know if it's just for all the the roots 24:57 and the soils real nice and mellow. I don't know and my population on soybeans. I've been dropping every year also, so it's but it's still 25:07 I still have like a lot of guys are planting 140,000. I'm more like a hundred and fifteen hundred twenty thousand pop proceed and you're 25:13 saying money on seed right there. You're sitting in an office where this whole low population soybean thing. It 25:19 gets a lot of attention around with evidence and Kelly real quickly. Then you talked about mistakes. And you said something really smart there. 25:26 You said maybe people jump the gun and they decide to go a seven way mixes or they decide to do too much on their cover cropping too soon before they really had anything figured out 25:35 or perfect and then they got pissed off and said that doesn't work see yeah Grandpa was right. You shouldn't do this and you're pretty smart. You're kind of going in increments like 25:44 this. Is that the reason that others don't you think it's because they've tried and it 25:48 And it was a boondoggle. I don't think most of them I've ever tried but I want your perspective. I think there's a lot of ways to look at it. I 25:56 think some guys will just look at like the cost share availability and I've literally had guys come up to the farm and be like, 26:02 hey, can you see this field down? And the first thing I asked him. Well, what are you looking for? Are you looking for the wheat suppression 26:08 just to make sure they're doing the right thing. Well, I think I can make a buck or two. Like that's just what they want to do. You know, 26:14 if you can get a $15 cost here. It costs them 10 bucks. They want to make five bucks your job. So FSA through an FSA 26:20 conservation program. Or anything so some guys do that and they truly just don't care. They don't care if it works and just like 26:27 anything if you want it to work you make it work. So you got to have that mentality. I'm gonna make it work. I'm gonna figure it out and then 26:33 like you said guys just get two gung-ho and hop in there. And then the third thing would be just management of you know, there's a so many generations and Farms 26:43 like you've talked about in Prior podcasts, you know, like where grandpa's is still in charge and no no way. We're not gonna let that kid do that, you know, 26:52 so they they're really not allowed to try stuff or they just don't think outside the box or so. I think that's another reason why Evans why don't more 27:01 farmers do cover crops when we've already proven you can do it in Wisconsin for God's sake. So pretending it's a climatological. She's not 27:07 the reason why don't others do cover crops. Well and James had on some of those points it there's just a lot that goes into it. Everybody's different a reason 27:15 why not to I think changing the operation sometimes is A changes. Are you the farmers, you know somebody three years and their little 27:26 risk adverse. I like to say so. That's probably one bigger ones or you know, we are we're all probably guilty of it at 27:36 some point is oh, what's the neighbor do it? Then? They don't know the whole story. They just watch from the road and then they have some issues out there. 27:45 And then that's the first thing they'll point out too is like well that it looks like it didn't work, you know and and just being opened. 27:52 and to accepting failure like hey, it's alright if we make mistakes, let's just keep learning and keep doing that, you know part of like what extreme AG is all about is 28:01 Please we make mistakes just to learn from because that's when you're that's your biggest teacher right as failure. So I think there's a lot of that and education. I 28:10 feel still thinks a big piece of it, you know understanding, you know, Jesus his due diligence about learning about it, but a 28:16 lot of guys To the point of the conservation. They look at the conservation as their guideline to learning about Crawford crops 28:23 and stuff looking at other avenues and stuff which you mean like as a getting a payment from FSA. Yeah and go follow, you know learning from them or whatever, 28:32 which is a good source, but you also just like going to any other place they're going to a gonna local co-op to get some marketing device. It's probably 28:41 you know, you need diversify your portfolio, I guess so you need to go look out and talk about other things, right, you know talk to 28:47 other people and people have had successes. Obviously. It works for James. There's other people have had 28:52 successes with the two, you know, there's people across the country that have just worked. So there's about there's something to it. I think we've got a really good 29:01 thing that the people that Listen to extreme AG are very forward-thinking and then there's a whole bunch of the the strata below that that they find whatever reinforces 29:10 their prekins have preconceived beliefs. Well, you see and I just heard somebody I just heard about a guy out there in Kansas and cover crops lost him money. So whatever they want to you know 29:19 what I mean, but we don't have that here are people generally are doing let's talk about the money economics money James. You got to 29:25 make money. Yeah, so I guess I don't I'm trying I'm like everybody I don't enjoy buying chemical and chemistry every year and all the spend all your summer and the sprayer. 29:36 So that was another thing that I really liked about cover crop. So for me like said earlier on 29:42 I'm I'm skipping residuals and doing more contact herbicide. So my cover crop like for my okay, I 29:51 should back up a little bit so my cover crop herbicide pass, so I'll start off with the termination which would be my Roundup and 29:57 then I will wait where most guys my area. Well, did you tell me about the cost of the seed? The seed. Oh, no it cover that 30:06 yet boy five pounds per acre of Rye, you know, it didn't and all the sky. Yeah. So anywhere you'll have Aaron from 10 to 12 bucks an acre because it's roughly 30:15 a quarter per pound. All right Let's do let's do 12 bucks. Let's just figure an eyesight 12 bucks an acre on a seat. Okay, go ahead. 30:23 Yep, and then for application costs. Like I said, my duct tape rig was doesn't cost as much but I went off Iowa State Customs. So they figure twelve dollars for application 30:32 and I think an airplane's pretty close to that isn't that 13 or 15? But anyway, yeah, so just trying to 30:38 be fair. So you're gonna I figure I had 24 25 bucks an acre in my cover crop. Yep. 30:45 Okay, so so that gets seated in the fall like we talked about and then come springtime. I'll go and plan it like we talked about when it's six eight inches tall 30:54 and I'll come out and terminate it with my Roundup pass for termination and most guys I'd say 95% of guys around me will do 31:03 two post herbicide passes in their soybeans. So when everybody else is out doing their first post pass, I don't I wait about another two weeks, maybe three and 31:12 do one post pass and I'm done like a late post pass. Yeah. So right there I'm saving a post pass. Well play basically, it's it's it's the same 31:21 thing you had to go out and spray and kill off the Rye but you're but you didn't have to do an extra post application. So you 31:30 still are going and driving over the field twice with a sprayer and you think everybody else is as well. 31:35 Yeah, yeah. Well, everybody else will drive over the field of sprayer three times. We're all do it twice, but I will have that pass 31:41 in the fall. Applying the cover crop like we talked about. Yeah, so but my chemistry is where the big 31:48 savings is like for my cover crop and herbicide costs. I'm around 76 dollars seventy seven dollars an acre and that's including eight dollars 31:57 a pass and the twelve Dollar application fee. So I'm making sure I'm counting my cost for running the sprayer. Okay over the total of everything with herbicide. 32:07 Cost of the seed and then paying for application even if you use custom because you said there's some Iowa State numbers and you were real close to that 36 bucks. Yeah. Yep. So 76 32:16 bucks and then Evans and I kind of got together and looked at what the average Joe would be spending and you know, they're gonna have probably closer to 128 dollars 32:25 or more per acre. Yep at the end of the day. We're still getting the same results. But I have I feel like I have a lot more benefits with 32:34 soil biology and like my tillage with the roots and all that. So you just you save 50 bucks you saved 50 bucks and you didn't cost yourself any yield and then 32:43 you've got a net benefit of soil health and soil erosion protection. And also we we are 32:49 learning about when there's living roots in there longer. It keeps soil biology going and that's 32:55 where we're talking about, right? Yeah, and who wouldn't want to skip that post pass in the summer. I mean go to the lake, you know Park the sprayer and I 33:03 guess another cost. We always talk about that Mike Evans never every time I come to Iowa. He's working like 14 hour days. He doesn't get to go to the lake. I don't 33:12 know who's who's the person is go to the lake Evans. You're never at the lake. You're always working and I'm always there when I and I'm working. 33:18 Part of it, then. Yeah, another another cost that we haven't really covered. If you're doing a traditional herbicide plan, you're gonna 33:27 have tillage like what Evans talked about. So if you go off Iowa State, you know, so your corn in the fall, you're gonna discrip it 33:33 and then in the spring you're gonna hit it with a field cultivator. So according to Iowa State that's almost 40 dollars worth of cost right 33:39 there that I also do not have yeah. And the cost that I showed just we just ratchet up to 90 dollars difference and same yield. 33:48 Yeah, and that's not figuring any cost here either by the way guys we'd also say wait a second James we'd also say well. 33:54 Yeah, but you had to do the work. Well, yeah, but you weren't sitting in a ripper. Yeah, and as Evans pointed out the Ripper those things are you're digging 34:03 down, you know to China so you can only go like 12 feet or 15 feet at a time across the all your Acres. It slows can be. Okay. Go ahead. 34:12 Yeah, and then like I said that those numbers were before any cost share and later on I can get into more cost share 34:18 so conservatively you can probably take 15 bucks off my cost. So like I said you're and that even that's true in nrcs program. 34:28 Yeah, there's private groups to like with PFI and like your county and stuff like that. And then with like your crop insurance, if you're not in a government program, you can 34:37 get five dollars off an acre there for cover crops if you document it with them with who so like with your cover crops like with FSA if you go and tell them 34:46 you plan to cover crops, if you're not in like one of their fifteen dollar cost share like my County most counties, they'll 34:52 give you up to 15 bucks for like 16 acres worth. If you're not in program any Acres, you can then qualify 34:58 for like the five dollars off a crop insurance. So you can get a lot of your seed costs back. So we just we might have just gotten to where there's 35:07 more than 150 maybe up to 200 dollars of gain on this and then you also done the right thing for your ground. 35:16 Yep, and I have one last tractor set in the shed that 500 horse tractor. They don't need which that's a huge deal for 35:22 me being a young farmer with not a lot of money. So yeah, I like it. What about if you did put 35:28 a three four five seven way mix are you gonna be having more dollars per acre on the seed or is that negligible? 35:36 I think if I add more to it, I'll probably take away the Rye so it might I mean I might gain a couple bucks, but I 35:42 don't think it'll be crazy. But if I add to it, I'll be getting more in the end. So it'll be a good value. I think yeah, well 35:48 the nitrogen fixation might be the thing like talked about. Okay. My last question for you is looking ahead. 35:54 What do you see looking ahead? Cover cropping because I've been saying for a long time we should be doing this and still hasn't caught on. Are we gonna 36:03 be doing it more? I'll go to Evans first. You've been talking Evans. We're gonna be doing more. Are there any more Acres cover cropped in 2020 three four 36:09 five than they're ever have been or is this some because it's failed to catch on for the last 15 years. 36:17 That's that's the magic 8 ball, right? I would hope so. I hope guys start trying and dabbling in it and get more educated on it, you know 36:26 James and I've had discussions about you know, if we don't start being proactive. We're not start being reactive right? When do you 36:36 mandate show up? When does when does the hand get help to they're given to us about what we need to do out here and if we're ahead of the game tend to be a lot better off than when we're 36:45 getting told what to do, right? So look at Temple. I mean with all the real yeah, Maryland and and that's a good 36:51 point. I have predicted and I believe this could be as soon as the 2023 farm bill this whole climate 36:57 thing this whole environmental thing. Some of it is frankly. b*******, but some of it is absolutely and some 37:05 but some of it is absolutely got proof behind it. I think that to be eligible for FSA programs moving forward. You will have to be doing certain things and I do said it's 37:14 probably way better to have been to know how to do this before it becomes a mandatory. 37:19 You know, it's coming. Yeah. So James, you think it's coming you think you think in five years ago say, well, you know, what now I have to do what James been 37:29 doing for eight. Well, I hope not because no one likes see mandates, but that wouldn't be surprised. I mean because like said temple is 37:37 just a great great showing of that. I mean, it's it's coming. I think I just don't know how it can't be especially when you see people driving by and seeing all our ditches full of dirt 37:46 this winter. I mean, I'm 33 and this was the worst winner with dirt I've ever seen. I mean it was just awful. Like I 37:52 think my house is gonna need power wash from the dirt and the nearest feel is like 400 feet and neighbors field. I mean, it's got like 37:58 a black tint to my tan house now, I mean it it's really sad. Yes. It is sad to say and what I don't I don't 38:04 understand how these operators don't see the numbers how they don't see the numbers when you put it that way last thing 38:10 on the way out the door James what you got for me? He's shared me your numbers you shared your pictures you share your experience, you're gonna be doing more of it. 38:16 Now. The next person is gonna say, why don't you do every acre. Well, that's my goal. Okay, I'm doing the 38:22 baby steps. I think next year. I'll be doing all my bean acres and I'll do prior third to half my corn acres and I'll keep 38:28 working with Evans on like how they're doing it get into some of these carbon markets too. We didn't touch on I think 38:34 if you'll qualify for more right with like what Kelly does so that's another Avenue and yeah, 38:40 I'm hoping to put on like a field day at my place in Rockville city just to get people to come out and like come out and look at it and walk in the field and look at it get a 38:49 shovel and just see it instead of just driving by it 45. I'm hoping to put on like you're gonna invite the townspeople out to judge 38:56 you is that what I'm hearing? Yeah as well. I'll probably get work producers the grill something so I'll get a good attendance, you know, look come if 39:05 you feed them. So yeah, you'll get even more people judging you and say yeah what you're talking about. Yes, I can. Yeah. I'm excited 39:12 for you. By the way. Are you still crap? Are you still crop insurance adjuster in addition to your farming? I'm an agent. I'm a full-time. 39:19 The agent for crop insurance and farm full time. Yep. Got it. And what's the number? Okay. 1400 acres is how much you're farming? Yeah, how 39:28 many acres are gonna be undercover crop in 2023 about 400? Okay, and then your plan is by another couple of years all of them. 39:37 Yep, good. Fantastic. His name's James. Have you saw the picture? If you didn't see the pictures go and check it out on our videos. And if you want to see more of this 39:46 kind of stuff. Let us know because we are here to make sure that you are knowledgeable. Mike Evans been a 39:52 great AG Solutions working alongside Kelly Garrett. James have both guys in Iowa. I'm Damian Mason. 39:58 Thanks for being here till next time. This is Extreme Ice cutting. That's a wrap for this episode of extreme AG's 40:06 cutting the curve, but there is plenty more available by visiting for over 40:12 50 years Farmers have turned to The Proven lineup of crop inputs offered by Loveland products from seed treatments Plant Nutrition at event and crop protection 40:21 products Loveland has the complete lineup to keep your farming operation productive and most importantly profitable check out Loveland to 40:30 learn more.