Integrating Cattle for Healthier Soil in Kelly Garrett's No-Till Farm
18 Jan 243 min 50 sec

As a no-till operation, Kelly Garrett has a lot of residue on his farm that needs to be managed during the off season. Kelly showcases three distinct corn fields, each illustrating unique stages of residue breakdown. He talks about the vital role of integrating cattle into crop fields, a key to boosting soil health and priming it for the upcoming planting season, and how he utilizes regenerative farming techniques to manage his corn residue.

00:00 Hi, this is Kelly Gear from Extreme Ag. We're out here this afternoon. We're gonna show you three different corn fields, 00:05 the different states of residue breakdown that is occurring in each field. This field, as you can see, is pretty barren. 00:12 It was combined in September. The corn was 25, 20 6% went right to the ethanol plant because of a basis play we had, 00:18 it was an earlier number of corn. All three fields we're gonna show you yielded approximately 200 bushels, so that not a different amount 00:24 of residue based on one yielding more than the other. It's, it's all pretty equitable here. But again, this corn was combined at 25, 20 6%. 00:32 So the corn was green. We ran the airway through here. The cows were pastured on these stalks for quite a long time. 00:38 And as you can see, it almost looks like it's been tilled. The residue breakdown's great. The carbon transfer is great. 00:44 The nutrient transfer is great. It's breaking down, going back into the soil. The cows helped us do a, a great job here. 00:50 Help break it down by walking over it, by eating it and pooping it out, the manure, things like that. We're gonna go to other fields. 00:57 One field has got cows on it currently. They're helping with the breakdown. The other field hasn't had any cows on it, 01:02 and it looks like a pretty thick, solid mat out there. Could be some trouble with germination next spring. The row cleaners are really gonna have 01:08 to do a good job in the final field because there's such a mat of residue there. We talk about the cows and how much help they do. 01:14 You know, I know there's a lot of talk about cattle and methane and cow farts and things like that. Carbon is neither created nor destroyed. 01:21 It's transferred, and the cows help us do that. And this field is awesome. I, I'm excited to plant in this field next year. 01:27 I would expect a good yield out of this field just because of how the soil is right now. We get to that last field with that Matt of stalks, 01:34 and it's just tough. The ground will be cold, the ground will be damp, um, and the soil won't warm up very well. 01:41 You know, and we need to, we need to do something to manage that in our no-till system. 01:46 That's what the challenge is, is to, uh, deal with all the residue. So We're out here in a field that hasn't had cows, 01:53 it hasn't had the airway. Uh, the only thing that's been through here is the John Deere 01:57 Anhydrous bar. And as you can see, it's a map. You know, look at this, look at this. Trying to get this to break down. 02:05 It's just a challenge, you know. Um, these stocks down here, potentially even from last year, it's a corn on corn field. 02:12 It's going back to corn. Uh, there was supposed to be cows out here, but the guy we rented the stalks to hasn't put 'em out yet. 02:19 And, uh, it just doesn't break down in this part of the country. You know, temple and Chad, Matt are 02:24 Amazed about this, but this is the challenge we have in a no-till system. That's why we went with the airway to size the stalks. 02:30 That's why we like the cows. You know, there's this talk about if cows are good for the environment, good for the climate, things like that. 02:36 Carbon is neither created nor destroyed. It's just transferred. And the cows are helping to speed up that process. 02:42 The cows are helping to make the soil better. Yeah, Molly's trying to help break them down right now, but I, I think she's got a long way to go. 02:48 That's a big job ahead of her. Cattle are great in a, in a, it's a very holistic circular system. 02:54 This is free feed for the cows. They help with the carbon transfer, help break it down. It helps with 02:58 Next year's crop. Now you can see we're standing in a field that the airway's been through size 03:04 of the stalks, knocks 'em down. The cattle have been grazing. As you can see on the ground. The transfer or the residue breakdown has started. 03:12 This is a lot better seed bed to go into next year. These cattle will stay here till the 1st of March. That's when the frost will come outta 03:19 the ground and we'll take 'em in. So compaction doesn't occur, but, uh, this is, this is beyond sustainable. 03:25 This is regenerative sustainable agriculture. You know, that, that term gets tossed around a lot. But I don't wanna be sustainable. It's not good enough. 03:34 I wanna do better. I wanna be regenerative. And that's what we're doing with the cattle out here. That's what we're doing with this system. 03:40 And that when we talk about carbon transfer, that's regeneration. That's not sustainable. It's regenerative.

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