Zuehls Farms is centuries old but has undergone many transitions throughout the years. It was once a very diversified farm with chickens, pigs, and dairy. Then the farm was dairy-only, until about 20 years ago when the family decided to shift their attention to crops. Most recently, Zeb added a small beef herd.
Zeb, his dad and his wife and children now focus on making the land the best they can for the corn, soybeans, alfalfa, and small grains they grow. This means experimenting with cover crops to discover which species will work best in his area, which has a short growing season of about 140 days.
“As part of Soil Health Partnership, we grow cover crops to improve our soils, increase organic matter, and, ultimately, be better stewards of the land,” Zeb said. “I also want to make our land the best I can if my kids choose to farm.”
With heavy rain events the past few years, Zeb says that, since implementing soil health practices, he’s noticed a great reduction in the amount of soil erosion and nutrient loss. He has also noticed improvement in the soil structure. These changes will help him accomplish the goal of leaving the land in the best possible shape for the next generation.
Zeb joined the Soil Health Partnership in 2016. He was already interested in different methods of tillage and implementing cover crops, but SHP has given him a farmer network to share information and the confidence to try “different things that I would have never dreamed of doing.”
“The sky is the limit on soil health. If you don’t try it, you won’t know if it does or does not work,” said Zeb.