ADJUSTING TO PLANTING GREEN. Dale Stevermer says he has become a lot more comfortable with planting soybeans into green cereal rye. Soybeans were planted into the cereal rye when the cover crop was about knee-high, around May 14.

No-Till Newbie Reduces Erosion, Saves Trips Across the Field

Minnesota grower Dale Stevermer seeks to achieve environmental and economic sustainability by using no-till and covers.

DALE STEVERMER of Easton, Minn., is soft-spoken but comports himself with confidence and pride. That shows on his 450-acre farm — everything is clean, tidy and each item in its place. The century farm belonged to his paternal grandparents, who purchased the first 120 acres in 1916. Some of the acres are part of another century farm from his mother’s side of the family that was purchased in 1912.

“In 1959, my parents got married and bought the farm from my grandparents,” he says. “I started farming in 1988, and my wife, Laurie, and I moved out to the farm in 1992, along with our three children.”

Crops and pigs have been the mainstay of the farming operation over the decades, according to Stevermer. The acres are split equally between corn and soybeans. During the 2020 growing season, Stevermer used covers on 100% of his acres.

A Practicing Farmer

Stevermer first began dabbling with cover crops in 2014, calling himself a “newbie” to the practice. He switched to no-till in 2017 and says he’s still learning when it comes to no-till and cover crops.

“I have a brother who’s a doctor, and we’re both ‘practicing,’” he jokes. “I wanted to control erosion and started hearing about the fact that cover crops can do a better job of eliminating compaction.” 

During Stevermer’s first year of no-tilling, he also switched rotations within fields so he had more corn-on-corn acres. He learned that what he’d done in the past would have a negative…

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Sarah hill web

Sarah Hill

Sarah Hill is associate editor for the ag division, contributing primarily to Precision Farming Dealer, Strip-Till Farmer, No-Till Farmer and Cover Crop Strategies. Hill has a farm background and graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in Ag Journalism and a minor in Animal Science. She has previously served as managing editor of DairyBusiness and is a member of the National Agri-Marketing Association and American Ag Editors’ Association.

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