Conservation Ag Update hits the road once again for the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Ill.

Assistant editor Mackane Vogel discovers a new electric cover crop seeder, and catches up with ag tire expert James Tuschner for a “Tire Talk” about preventing stubble damage.

Also in this episode, Noah Newman chats with central Illinois no-tiller Dave Brown in the Farmer Feature segment, goes ahead of the curve with Terrakamp CEO Joseph Jandrisch for a look at the soil health benefits of the company’s NEXAT system, and reveals the secret to strip-tiller Alex Harrell’s soybean record-breaking success.

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Welcome to the Farm Progress Show!

Welcome to a special edition of Conservation Ag Update from the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Ill. Coming up in just a bit we’re going 1-on-1 with a central Illinois no-tiller to talk about his conservation ag journey. But first let’s send it out to assistant editor Mackane Vogel, who’s standing by with an update on a new cover crop product. 

First Look: Electric Cover Crop Seeder

As always, cover crops are a hot topic at this year’s Farm Progress Show. I caught up with Andy Unverferth, who told me about a new cover crop seeder with an electric drive metering system. Here’s Andy with some more details.

“This is a unique system in that we can plant cover crops quickly and cost effectively. Because, you know, drills can be expensive to run and spreading your cover crop on the ground without working it into the soil or making a pass with the spreader and then a tillage tool afterwards can be a little more expensive … the cover crop seeder can do all that in one pass.

The way this works, we have a 32-and-a-half-bushel hopper, and that drops down via our airdelivery system to our deflectors and then our deflectors spread the seed out evenly along the ground and then our rolling baskets along the back work that seed into the soil. This is available on Rolling Harrows up to 37 feet wide. It does have an electric drive system. For users that want to apply it variable rate, we do have an optional Raven Isobus rate controller. So, you can apply seed without having to worry about your ground seed.”

Stay tuned for more cover crop videos in the coming weeks. I’ll also be checking back in in a few minutes, but for now we’re going to go back to Noah with a special guest.

Farmer Feature: Dave Brown, Warrensburg, Ill. 

We’re here with central Illinois no-tiller Dave Brown for a conversation about his journey with conservation ag.

*transcript of interview not available*

Ag Tire Talk: Preventing Stubble Damage 

Had to stop and have a little bit of fun outside the Illinois Soybean Association tent. Speaking of soybean growers, and no-tillers, growers should be cognizant of tire tread and specs. Here is James Tuschner from Ag Tire Talk, going over a quick 101 crash course on things you should know about tires.

“James Tuschner with Ag Tire Talk here, today we’re going to talk about stubble damage and things you can do to prevent it on tires. So, the first thing I want to talk about is steel belted tires – tractor tires with a steel belt in the tread face – so what does that do? With those tough hybrid corn stalks, it really makes it far harder to penetrate this tread casing. So, that’s one thing you can do is look for a steel belted tire.

“There are also select sizes of all steel casing tires in which the steel actually envelopes the sidewall as well. Clearly that’s another barrier to keep those corn stalks from entering into the sidewall with the steel casing. The last thing I want to talk about is a stubble resistant-compound. Not all rubber compounds are created equally. Look for a stubble-resistant compound on the tires that you purchase. You should also look for a stubble guard warranty that all major manufacturers have and compare them to make sure you get the very best.”

Ahead of the Curve: NEXAT System Turns Heads

Thanks, Mackane, great tire talk. Now let’s go ahead of the curve with a machine that’s generating a lot of buzz here — Terrakamp’s NEXAT system. It’s essentially an all-in-one machine that can autonomously perform all the primary crop-related functions, including harvesting, spraying, planting and more. We caught up with Terrakamp CEO Joseph Jandrisch, who says one of the main motivators behind the development of the machine is soil health. 

“The true benefit we offer is to improve the health of the soil by reducing compaction, staying on a fifty foot wide tram line. It’s focused on automation. You see a cab on the machine, but the cab is there mostly to let the operator ride along. The machine will operate autonomously. We don’t need a square field. We’ll plan in a path, we’ll use AI to plan the most efficient path so we can stay off of areas that might be compacted. With that we get better moisture penetration, more nutrients deep in the soil, deeper roots.”

“After a few years of use we find less need for synthetic nutrients, nitrogen, potassium, phosphorous and micronutrients. It’s easier on the operator. You’ll ride along and don’t need to navigate you’ll just watch the process of the harvest of the process and be able to intervene. Maybe there’s a deer on your row line or maybe when you’re planting one of the rows is getting plugged, so you can watch that process.”

Catch our full conversation with Joseph Jandrisch, on the Farm Innovations YouTube channel. 

Georgia Strip-Tiller Breaks Soybean Yield Record

Moving on now to our photo/video of the week. Georgia strip-tiller Alex Harrell shattered Randy Dowdy’s soybean yield record with 206 bushels per acre. He used a Schlagel Rapid-Till to get the job done. We caught up with the guy who sold him that Rapid-Till unit, Jonathan Spence, who was on cloud nine when he heard the record-breaking news. 

“It was actually the first rapid-till we sold in South Georgia when I came to work here. Alex was running a bigger, heavier machine that ripped a little bit deeper. Alex is obviously a progressive guy, so him being able to pick up and use a new machine and make that work, and it turned out to be a success story was a cool story for us. We’ve sold these across the country, for different crops on different farms. For someone to be a world-record holder with our machine, it's pretty awesome.”

Have an interesting photo or video from your farm? Or a story you’d like us to feature on the broadcast? Send me an email at

And that will wrap things up this edition of Conservation Ag Update. Until next time, for more stories visit, and Thanks for stopping by. Have a great day!