We thought to give you a brief advise on common points of "do" and "not to do" that you are probably aware of, but stressing them again may save you from long-term problems on your farm.
Your soil is a very complex system that has developed over many thousand years and our farming practises only have influenced it over the past 50 to 100 years.
Keep in mind:
- crops of the same species should only be grown on the same land every 4 - 6 years. This means if you have grown alfalfa, peas, beans or any other legume on one piece of land, 4 - 6 years should pass until you grow this type again. This also holds true for any other crop except corn, where a monoculture is possible, but should be avoided from plant health perspectives.
- the above facts hold also true for wheat, barley, brassicas (rape seed, canola, mustard, etc.) or any other of our field crops.
- cash returns per acre are important, but long term sustainability is the most important factor and soil health is key to this.
- minimum tillage on grain farms are one important key to save and make money.
- on farms that produce root crops like potatoes, sugar beets etc. tillage is part of the production, but should be kept to a minimum in the rotational 'non-root crop years'
All thus factors need to be realized when cover crops, green manure, plow-down crops are considered and a long term plan for particular species are made.
Phacelia offers a very interesting alternative, because it is not related to any of our normal farm crops.