Name: Justin Knopf
Location: Gypsum, Kansas
Year Joined SHP: 2019
Type of Operation:
Justin farms in Gypsum, Kansas alongside his dad and brother. They grow wheat, corn, soybeans, grain sorghum, alfalfa and triticale.
Views on Soil Health:
Knopf views healthy soil as a foundational part of the equation to build resilience. He needs the soil to be functioning well in order 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 believes the better the soil is functioning, the better the relationship between the plants and the soil biology, resulting in healthier crops.
Reason for Joining Soil Health Partnership:
When the National Wheat Foundation partnered with SHP for wheat specific trials in Kansas, Knopf was approached to establish a plot on his land. He had been following SHP’s trials with corn, so he was interested in collecting data for wheat that was pertinent to his area.
Trials Partnered with SHP:
Knopf will be conducting an enhanced practice trial on their SHP plot over five years where a cover crop trial that will consist of adding a cover crop to any open window between grain crops is compared with the same system with no cover crops.
This research will allow Knopf to compare how extending the growing season with cover crops, and how maintaining living roots in their soils for a longer period of time each year affects their unique crop rotation.
Other Soil Health Practices Being Implemented:
Knopf also practices no-till, multi-specie cover crops and diverse crop rotation.
Advantages Experienced Using Soil Health Practices:
In terms of cover crops, he has 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.