Gabe Brown, of Bismarck, N.D., is a cover crop/intensive grazing management pioneer. He's totally turned his 2,000 acres grain and cattle ranch around by integrating those two management practices.
He has made great strides in improving his soil's health and his bottom lines He no longer uses any herbicides, fungicides or insecticides. He doesn't apply any commercial fertilizer. Cattle manure, legumes and the soil itself provides all the nutrients the crop needs.
His grain yields are 25% above the county average.
"I don't have the highest yields," he says. "But am I the most profitable? Yes. I guarantee it."
His latest innovations:
•Polycultures. He's growing grain and cover crops together at the same time. "We are trying to mimic Mother Nature," he says.
•Direct marketing of grass-finished beef. He owns shares in a processing plant and is direct marketing meat in several North Dakota cities. "The demand is overwhelming," he says.
Brown covers this and more in a presentation titled, "Five Keys To Building A Healthy Soil" that he gave at the Idaho Center for Sustainable Agriculture's annual symposium. Check it out at the https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K51DaRKET20