Tim Seifert still works the land his grandfather began farming in 1945. The Auburn, Illinois farm now boasts 3,000 acres of corn and soybeans and the conservation practices needed to make sure the farm is ready to hand off to the fourth generation.
“We have to take care of the soil,” says Tim. “Sometimes that may not be easy, but farming has never been easy. We need it to be healthy for the next generation.”
Tim joined the Soil Health Partnership in 2014 to look at how cover crops can work in real-life farm situations. Demonstration farmers like Tim participate in the program by collecting data on test plots with the help of field managers and their agronomists. Those test plots include cover crops, nutrient management and conservation tillage.
Cover crops haven’t come without challenges on the Seifert farm. Time is limited during the harvest—the key time to put in cover crops. And knowing when to plant, what variety cover crops to use, and waiting for good weather are all challenging. The challenges continue in the spring with timing the cover crop termination advance of planting. But Tim has never been one to shy away from hard work or a challenge.
“I am ready to see if cover crops will help keep nitrogen out of the waterways and instead in our soil. I am still learning, and I’m ready to see how it impacts the bottom line,” said Tim. “We’re stewards of the soil. It was left to us by previous generation. I want that legacy to continue long into the future.”