Mark Mueller is the fourth generation to raise a family and a crop on their family farm in Waverly, Iowa. He grows 1,800 acres of corn, soybeans, alfalfa and specialty beans, in addition to the cereal rye and tillage radishes, hairy vetch, and other legumes he’s been using as cover crops since 2006.
In 2007, Mark went completely no-till, including corn following corn. Prior, they were a minimum-tillage farm with some fields no-till in the late 1990s.
Mark says he has gradually used less nitrogen overall. He did begin using starter fertilizer in 2015. The farm utilizes manure from a nearby dairy and hasn’t applied commercial fertilizers on those fields since 2005.
“I’ve learned a lot more about the science of soil health,” Mark says. “Specifically, I gained knowledge on nutrient availability, the soil’s microbiome and improving tilth, organic matter and reducing nutrients leaving the field.”