Find out how to keep your soil (and your nutrients) right here at home.
The Midwest. From scenic countrysides north to south, families have spent generations caring for their land. Passed from one caretaker to the next, each field of Hoosier heritage represents lots of hard work and help from the elements. Previous generations chose this perfect Midwest location for many reasons. Now, it’s today’s farmer that must make sure the land settled by their grandparents and great grandparents stays put. Keeping the soils that settled here generations before safe and sound for generations to come, well, that’s us taking pride in where we’re from. After all, the Midwest is best!
What can we do?
Why does this matter to you?
- You utilize crop insurance
- You like getting discounts on insurance
- You prefer to keep the nutrients you paid for right where you left them
- You settled here and you’re staying put — you want your soil to do the same
For 2024 qualifying coverage
to apply, cover crops need to be
planted in Fall 2023.
Eligible counties: Bartholomew, Boone, Brown, Clark, Crawford, Daviess, Dearborn, Decatur, Delaware, Floyd, Greene, Hamilton, Hancock, Harrison, Hendricks, Henry, Jackson, Jefferson, Jennings, Johnson, Lawrence, Madison, Marion, Martin, Monroe, Morgan, Ohio, Orange, Randolph, Ripley, Scott, Shelby, Switzerland, Tipton and Washington, unless otherwise noted.
For more information, click here.
*Cover crops must have been planted in 2023, ahead of the 2024 growing season. Only acres that are not receiving cost share funding from other sources are eligible. Discount is available on a first come, first served basis.
Cover crops can be a significant opportunity to impact yields, bottom lines, soil health and ultimately, water quality. Utilizing cover crops ensures your soils stay right where they’re needed for this year’s cropping season and for generations to come.
What are you putting in? Consider the
form of the input being applied and the
risk of loss. It’s important to incorporate
a balance of nutrient sources and to
consider the plant-availability of the
Are you applying too much, or too little?
Knowing the amount of fertilizer to input
into your fields is the next step in the 4Rs
process. By assessing the land they’re
going in, you will have a much better idea
of how much is needed.
When should you apply your fertilizer?
Applying your inputs at the right time can
help increase efficacy and efficiency. It’s
important to base your decisions on crop
uptake, soil supply, nutrient loss risks,
and field operation logistics.
What is the correct application of input
inside the field? To determine the right
place, it’s important to place fertilizer
where crops are best equipped to take it,
in the root zone.
Take the quiz to see where you are in the 4Rs process.
For more information on the 4Rs, visit 4rfarming.org.
Implementing edge-of-field management
practices can improve soil health and
water quality. Follow these 9 best
practices for managing nutrients and
Read our edge-of-field management guide below for more
information on how to implement these practices on your farm.
Tile drainage contains important nutrients necessary for crop development. When it washes away those nutrients are lost. But that doesn’t have to happen. A drainage water recycling system saves both the water and those nourishing elements so both can be reapplied to crops.
The Transforming Drainage project has created some great resources to manage drainage water.
Talk to your landowner about best practices!
Did you know over 50% of midwest farmland is rented each year? If you are one of the many farmers that rents ground, creating a sustainable relationship with your landowner allows you to put your sustainable practice ideas into action. To create this relationship, start with a conversation. The power lies within you and other farmers’ hands to make sure our land is protected for this year’s crops and the next generation of farmers.
Does your landowner understand the costs and benefits of implementing soil health and nutrient management best practices? As a farmer, you’re an expert on best practices that increase the value of the land — both for yield and for generations to come. It’s up to you to share how these practices can help your yield and their land. Having these conversations with your landowner doesn’t have to be difficult and can reap the benefits for you both.
How can you create a sustainable relationship with your landowner to make sure the sustainable practices you want to implement happen? It starts with a conversation.
Resources like crop consultants and extension agents can help you craft the conversation you’d like to have with your landowner about sustainable conservation practices. Your preparation for this conversation with strategic soil health practices in mind helps to ease the pressure of change with your landowner and displays your level of commitment in making long-term differences.
Help to educate your landowner in what sustainable land stewardship means by walking them through a small test plot while explaining the benefits and what it means for their future. It’s hard to be invested in practices they may not fully understand.
Landowners worry that measurable value produced by land conservation is too long-term. Help negate this by demonstrating to them that some results can be immediate while consistent implementation over the years can protect, improve and secure their land productivity and sustainability for their own future generations.
It is recommended that you test your soil pH and nutrient levels at a minimum every 4 years. Understanding your nutrient levels helps determine nutrient needs and develop a plan — which helps you pay for exactly what you need, where you need it, when you need it!
Are you sure your nutrients are where you left them? 100% sure?
Water quality research tells us that nutrient runoff is a problem, costing you money and contributing to the nutrient loads entering our waterways.
If you’re located in the Upper White River watershed, Indiana Agriculture Nutrient Alliance (IANA) is offering free nitrate test strips. You can test ditch water, tile water, surface runoff or creek water near a tile outlet around your farm. After all, you paid for your nitrogen (N), don’t you want to keep it where you put it?
By providing your information, you agree to allow IANA to contact you via email, phone, or mail. Limit 5 strips per person. While supplies last.
What am I losing into my tile water?
If you use tile water to evaluate your nitrogen loss, you can actually find your loss per acre.
Concentration x Tile Flow ÷ Drainage Area = lbs. of N per acre being lost
What do your results mean?
These results are not precise measuring tools, but a resource for estimations.
How can you keep more nitrogen where you need it?
- Applying nitrogen as close to the time it’s needed at adequate rates helps reduce nitrogen loss.
- Planting foraging / scavenging cover crops helps reclaim excess nitrogen and keep it for the next crop.
Please use this estimation for informational purposes. Reach out to your personal crop advisor for more information and detailed plans of action.
Want more tips?
Partnerships for Success
Learn more about resource partners that work with farmers and landowners that provide programs to make soil health management easy.