December 19, 2018
Even in Indiana, known nationally as a leader in cover crops and soil health, only about 4% of all cropland sees a cover crop in any one season. Why do some people swear by no-till and cover crops and others swear at them — or at least don’t use them?
Hal Truax, Hendricks County, who now farms with his son Evan, hit the nail squarely on the head recently during an open conversation with other farmers who have varying degrees of experience with cover crops.
“It’s all about your mindset,” Truax said. “We talk about planter settings and which types of cover crops to grow, but when it comes down to it, mindset is the biggest thing of all.
“If you’re going to no-till and utilize cover crops, you have to stick to it and learn as you go. Once you do it long enough, it becomes like second nature. The biggest question becomes: ‘How can I do it better?’
“It’s the same for someone who chooses to stay with tillage,” he continues. “If you’re committed to tillage and it’s second nature, you want to figure out how you can do it better. How can you till so that you prevent more weeds from growing?”
Truax believes every farmer has a choice. “You can choose to do it with iron and tillage, or you can choose to do it with strategy, more management, no-till and cover crops. What you can’t do is straddle the line. You must commit to one or the other.”
Truax committed to no-till more than three decades ago and now incorporates cover crops. He says he hasn’t regretted his choice.
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