icon-find icon-search icon-print icon-share icon-close icon-play chevron-down icon-chevron-right icon-chevron-left chevron-small-left chevron-small-right icon-facebook icon-twitter icon-mail icon-youtube icon-pinterest icon-google_plus icon-instagram icon-linkedin icon-arrow-right icon-arrow-left icon-download cross minus plus icon-map icon-list

Minnesota Corn: Highlighting On-Farm Sustainability with Nick Peterson (Video)

On-farm sustainability practices are crucial to environmental health, the future of farmland, and ultimately public health.

The Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) works to promote sustainable practices that improve the life and livelihood of farmers, as well as connect the general public to important breakthroughs in agriculture and how it relates to environmental quality for all.

The MCGA recently published a video where Nick Peterson of Clear Lake, MN, showcases the sustainable practices on his family farm, and he explains why they are important in agriculture today. The video is informative, full of fun farm facts, and easy to understand.

This production is a great example of how the Minnesota Corn Growers Association strives to connect the non-farming community to the agricultural practices being executed by farmers in their area to protect water resources and the environment for a healthier future in America.

What sustainability means to MN farmer Nick Peterson:

– Improve quality of the land
– Utilize technologies and best management practices to reduce runoff and erosion
– Increase productivity of the land

What farmers are doing to achieve sustainability:

– Adapting precision ag technology use to increase efficiency of farming inputs
– Conservation practices such as conservation tilling and cover crops
– Accounting for soil and field characteristics in decision making
– Precision irrigation – apply only necessary amount of water needed based on soil type and crop needs

Nick goes into great depth into what these conservation practices in a way that is easy to understand and accounts for the benefits and challenges involved. In this video, he discusses some of the main conservation practices used by farmers today: tillage, cover cropping, crop rotation, and irrigation and nutrient management.

Farmers practice soil tillage to prepare seed beds, kill weeds, incorporate fertilizers, manage crop residues, and warm the soil in preparation for planting and seed germination. Soil tillage can increase erosion and increase compaction of soils, and conservation Tillage (strip till, no till) reduces the negative impact disturbing the soil can have.

Cover Cropping
Farmers plant cover crops to reduce erosion and increase the organic matter of the soil. The roots of cover crops help keep soil in place and improve soil structure. A challenge of growing cover crops is having enough heat, moisture, and time to get cover crops established before winter freeze occurs in Minnesota.

Extended Crop Rotation
Crop rotation is the practice of planting multiple different crops to build organic matter and reduce greenhouse gas emissions on the farm. Crop rotation helps prevent plant diseases and pests, reduce need for crop inputs, and help increase yields through biodiversity.

Sustainable Water Use
The use of soil sensors to measure moisture levels helps determine when the field needs water, making irrigation decisions more efficient and sustainable. Also, satellites and field maps help farmers to prepare for irrigation. Remote technology can be used to control irrigation systems and turn off water when needed. New variable rate irrigation systems can be used to deliver precise irrigation amounts to specific parts of the field, as well.

Innovations in agriculture can be used to improve the future of conservation and sustainability on the farm. It is clear that the overall goal in farming today is to produce more with less, and leave the land in better shape than when you found it.

At EarthScout, we are thankful that organizations such as the MGCA, and family farms like Nick Petersons, are making an effort to spread these ideas around sustainability to the farming and non-farming communities alike.

The EarthScout team is thrilled to be a part of the agriculture community, providing soil moisture sensors for precision irrigation management with Minnesota-based manufacturing and customer service, and being a part of family farms like the Peterson’s is what keeps us going!

Federal and State funding is available to help cover costs for advanced irrigation water management tools. To learn more about how to manage water use in a more sustainable way on your farm, contact us today!