Mackane Vogel here with this week’s Cover Crop Connection. As you can see we are at the birthplace of the tillage radish, yes I am on Steve Groff’s farm in Holtwood, Pennsylvania and speaking of which, we’re going to toss it off to Steve right now for some cover crop action.

“So in 1995 I was at the National No-Till Conference and heard Franke Dijkstra from Brazil talk about how he was rolling cover crops. I had heard about him before so I was really excited to meet him at the conference that year. I was able to talk to him and I came home from the No-Till Conference and I literally had barrels set up. I was going to weld angle irons on them and I was going to put rods through and fill them with concrete, because that was some of the ways that I had seen some of the pictures they had done in Brazil. ”

“And I literally was starting to do that, starting to manufacture and make that and everything and then I happened to see in a farm magazine that there was a device called a rolling stalk chopper made by Buffalo out of Nebraska that was designed to go in the spring in corn stalks and chew up the corn stalks a little bit, fluff up the soil — kind of like what we know as vertical tillage today but not with discs,  more with these blades. And I thought to myself, that might be a way that we could use to roll the cover crops. Because you have this crimping action here and so I called the company up and they said ‘well, that’s an interesting idea. We’ve never shipped any of these things east of the Mississippi before but we do have a dealer from some of our other equipment in your area.’ ”

“So, long story short, they said ‘we’ll ship it east and if you like it you can buy it. If you don’t like it, ship it back.’ Fair enough. So I got it here, and when it came stock, everything was mounted directly on the bottom of this 7x7 frame but I made 2 rounds with my cover crops and I called them up and said I’m going to buy it. So I was convinced immediately. And I was going into rye that was 3 or 4 feet tall at that time. And so we bought it. But, we had problems…”

There we have it. From Cedar Meadow Farm in Holtwood, Pennsylvania, that’s all for this week’s Cover Crop Connection.