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Cover crops help Illinois farmer offset low commodity prices

An Illinois farmer says cover crops help his grain and livestock farm stay profitable even during a period of high rent, high inputs and low commodity prices.

“You don’t have to spend all the big money to make the big yields. Let Mother Nature do its job.”

Mark Litteken has a 100% cover crop operation in southern Illinois. He tells Brownfield more than 50% of the diets for his cattle come from his winter cover crops.

“We’re making that ground work 24/7, 365 days a year. With land prices and rent prices where they are at you’ve got to get as much use as you can out of every little bit that you have.”

Litteken says they then use the cattle manure as nutrients for the cover crop to improve soil health.

“We are able to utilize all of our own manure, our own nutrients and we are able to save them and keep them from running off with the growth of the cover crop.”

Litteken with share his experience with cover crops in a producer panel at a Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy field day in Breese, Illinois tomorrow.

Interview with Mark Litteken

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