Not every soil health building practice is going to work the same way on every farm. That’s one of the reasons we call it a journey. Sometimes, it can lead to unexpected places like in this episode’s example, figuring out how to plant green. We are joined by Trey Hill of Harbourview Farms in Maryland. He has an interesting story of how practices such as cover crops, no till and planting green have made farming more fun for him and improved his soil without sacrificing yields.
“One day he was planting green and the turn rows had been killed off, and he is like, Trey, come out here.You gotta see this. You gotta quit killing these cover crops. This is just planting beautifully. And this was two people that shouldn’t have liked it. We were both kind of looking at each other going, what’s going on here like this? This doesn’t make sense. Neither one of us should believe this or agree with it but we both saw it and we’re like, wow.” – Trey Hill
For years, Trey has been a vocal advocate for engaging with consumers and environmental groups to find solutions that are both great for the planet and for farmer viability and profitability. Trey grows corn, soybeans, wheat, barley and peas on just over 10,000 acres. Trey shares that this transition hasn’t always been easy. Adjusting from a “procedural standpoint” to not being able to scout his fields and do stand assessments has been difficult. He goes on to share the benefits that make that adjustment well worth it.
“In a drought, we definitely do better and I think that I like it in the spring. I think it keeps the soil a little more even temperature. We don’t get as much replant unless it’s from slugs, but we get a lot better emergence if the cover crops are there. We’re seeing a lot more earthworms. We’re building organic matter. We’re doing a certification now for regenerative practices…We’re seeing some pretty significant increases which makes me feel good.” – Trey Hill