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A Trifecta of Tools to Improve Soil and Water Quality

Davenport, Iowa’s, Robb Ewoldt implements innovative conservation practices to boost his bottom line while improving the environment.

Robb Ewoldt, along with his wife, Jennifer, and teenage sons, Alex and Isaac, grows corn and soybeans in eastern Iowa, just three miles north of the Mississippi River. He farms 2,000 acres with a main goal always in mind

“We need to grow a lot of food for a lot of people in this world,” Ewoldt says. “We need to produce as many calories as we can per acre but do it in a responsible manner.”   

Ewoldt shoots for a 275-bushel average for corn and 75-bushel average for beans on his best soils. His goal isn’t quite as lofty on grounds with lower soil quality, but it’s significantly higher than it used to be. 

“Ten years ago, our yield goal was 195 on tougher clay, timber soils. Now, last year we averaged 225 on that clay ground. We’ve gone up 30 bushels in a decade. That’s what our farming practices have done for us.” 

Ewoldt relies on what he calls “the trifecta” to boost yields while improving soil and water quality at the same time. The trifecta includes nutrients (timing and placement), equipment (technology to cut down on fertilizers) and cover crop/edge of field conservation practices. 

Nutrient Management 

The sixth-generation farmer is the first in his family to run a no-till and strip-till system. He strip-tills corn and no-tills non-GMO soybeans. 

“For corn-on-bean ground in the spring we go with three passes of nitrogen (N) and a little bit of phosphorus (P), potassium (K) and sulfur (S) along the way,”…

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Noah Newman

Noah Newman started at Lessiter Media in March 2022 as Associate Editor for No-Till FarmerStrip-Till Farmer and Cover Crop Strategies. He previously worked in broadcast journalism as a sports anchor/reporter for television stations in central Illinois and most recently Jackson, Mississippi, where he was named the state’s sportscaster of the year by the National Sports Media Association. The Cleveland, Ohio, native looks forward to engaging with growers, learning extensively about their operations, and sharing impactful stories with the audience.

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