Dan Roehrborn is a fifth-generation farmer, growing corn and soybeans near the Sheboygan River Basin, now managing the same farm that has been in his family for more than 100 years.
Dan grows a mix of barley, clover and radish to improve his soil health and practices no-till in soybean fields and cover crops, varying all his practices based on the field, soil type, and crops grown. He works hard to properly manage nutrients, taking a conservative approach. “We don’t use manure and I don’t want to overspend on fertilizer,” Dan said. Instead, he prefers to take soil samples to keep nutrients in check.
Since 2015, when Dan joined the Soil Health Partnership, he has been learning how to improve soil health on his farm and sharing information with other farmers. In those short years, he’s noticed an increase in organic matter and an improvement in his soil’s capacity to hold nutrients.
“There are many ways to work at improving soil health, but there is also potential for challenges,” Dan said. “These can occur with cover crops, such as too much cover causing excessive moisture or different bugs in the soil.”
Despite the challenges, Dan will continue to try different methods on different soil types, believing it will benefit his farming operation in the long run. And, as he says, “It’s just another learning curve on the farm.”