Swapping Fallow for Covers Boosts No-Till, Dryland Margins

John Heermann is using cover-crop mixes and a diverse, flexible crop rotation to eliminate summerfallow and improve the bottom line.

NEW FOCUS. Haxtun, Colo., no-tiller John Heermann has re-tooled his 1,600-acre farm with continuous no-till practices and cover-crop mixes seeded after cash crops on 100% of his acres.

A few years ago, John Heermann sat down to do his annual budgeting ahead of the next cropping season and sensed a problem was brewing.

Drought was gripping the High Plains, herbicide and fertilizer costs were escalating and his fallowed fields contributed no income. While his farm…

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John dobberstein2

John Dobberstein

John Dobberstein is senior editor of No-Till Farmer magazine and the e-newsletter Dryland No-TillerHe previously covered agriculture for the Tulsa World and worked for daily newspapers in Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Joseph, Mich. He graduated with a B.A. in journalism and political science from Central Michigan University.

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