The Benefits of Cover Crop and No-Till Practices

Louisiana farmer Marty Earnest comes from a long line of farmers. He says that a century’s worth of cotton cultivation and a lack of crop rotation nearly wrecked the soil of his family’s farm. With cotton prices dropping in the mid 90s, Earnest switched over to corn and soybeans. His research into soil health also led him to implement no till practices on his land, combined with planting cover crops during the winter season.

The results have been promising: the subsequent decrease in soil erosion has been accompanied by an increase in organic matter in the soil. In addition, he has discovered that, by decreasing his input costs (fuel, fertilizer, fuel, etc.), these practices have better positioned him to be able to successfully weather volatility in the commodities markets.

But at the end of the day, it is about more than just profits: Marty does what he does with the future in mind, believing that it is his duty as a farmer to leave the land better than he found it.