Less Iron, More Cover Tames Tough Plains Soils

Brian and Alan Johnson turned to no-till, cover-crop cocktails and CRP to reclaim saline seeps and improve productivity in tough growing conditions.

Making no-till practices work on the Johnson farm near Frankfort, S.D., has been a study in contrasts.

When Brian Johnson’s father, Alan, first implemented no-till on the family’s farm 28 years ago, the goal was to conserve scant rains early in the growing season to bring corn, soybeans and wheat through typically a hot, dry end of the growing season.

And by eliminating tillage and maintaining a crop residue layer, the family accomplished moisture-retention goals…

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