Name: Gregory Whitmore
Location: Shelby, Nebraska
Farm name: Mega Farms, Inc.
Grower: Gregory Whitmore
Greg raises corn, seed corn, corn silage and soybeans on about 2,600 acres.
Greg can trace his farm back to the homestead in 1879 where his ancestor, a Civil War officer, settled on 240 acres. While still in high school in 1978, Greg started farming with his brother, and the farm has slowly grown to its current size.
Most of Greg’s cover crops follow the harvesting of silage for erosion control, and to help with nutrient retention of manure applications. Other cover crop acres follow seed acres, where he grows corn under contract with a seed company to produce seed corn for them. The cover crops help with weed control. He primarily grows cereal rye and radishes, and adds turnips where the cover crop will be “winter pastured,” where cattle graze between harvest and planting.
Greg practices no-till on most of the acres. He says he uses no-till because it saves soil and water and has helped him push his average yields higher. And, he uses some mulch-till ahead of the seed corn. Mulch-till is when at least 30 percent of the surface is left covered by the previous crop’s residue or above-ground plant material.
“I use strip-till ahead of the corn acres to place nitrogen, phosphorus and sulphur below where I will plant the seed,” Greg said. “On the manured acres, I can apply most of our nutrient needs with effluent from a large local dairy through our center pivots, which we must manage to meet state and federal guidelines.”
Why did you join the Soil Health Partnership?
Greg has deep roots with the Soil Health Partnership, joining at its inception in 2014. “I joined because I was using cover crops and no-till. I wanted to see if the economic and environmental gains and soil quality were real or just perceived,” said Greg. “Since joining, I have seen less wind and water erosion and better water infiltration and retention.”
Greg says that a lot of little things can make the difference between success and failure. He’s had his cut of both, and wants to share that with other farmers to help them, and to learn from their experiences, as well.