Justin Knopf believes the better the soil is functioning, the better the relationship between the plants and the soil biology, resulting in healthier crops. He is invested in building better soil on his farm in Gypsum, Kansas where he grows wheat, corn, soybeans, grain sorghum, alfalfa and triticale with his dad and brother.
Justin needs the soil to be functioning well to effectively capture rain in heavy rainfall events, to prevent erosion, and also to store water to make it available when plants need it.
He is conducting an enhanced practice trial on their SHP plot over five that will consist of adding a cover crop to any open window between grain crops compared to the same system with no cover crops.
This research will allow Justin to compare how extending the growing season with cover crops, and how maintaining living roots in their soils for a longer period each year affects their unique crop rotation.
Justin has already seen enhanced soil biology with the presence of living roots throughout the year along with increased diversity and more opportunity to capture carbon and put it into the soil.